Thursday, 19 November 2015
World Toilet Day: We Can’t Wait – Flushing Away Exclusion
Kelly Vincent has used United Nations’ World Toilet Day to call on the South Australian Government to fund Changing Places, a specialised toilet facility for those with additional sanitation needs.
“Victoria now has six Changing Places in public places, and it’s time South Australia caught up,” says Kelly Vincent.
“Changing Places are public toilets with full-sized change tables and hoists in major public spaces across Australia to meet the needs of people with a variety of disabilities as well as older people.
“Every day thousands of South Australians face social exclusion due to lack of appropriate toilet facilities. The only alternative is changing on the floor of an unhygienic public toilet or remaining in soiled clothing. There are around 14,000 South Australians with a disability who require assistance to use the bathroom.
“Many require facilities like full-sized change tables and ceiling hoists which are not provided in regular disability accessible toilets. Across the country there are only a small handful of amenities which meet our needs.
“The Changing Places project advocates safe and hygienic, fully accessible toilet facilities in recreational venues, transport hubs, shopping centres and other convenient locations across Australia,” says Ms Vincent.
Accredited Changing Places toilets feature height-adjustable change tables, tracking hoist systems, sufficient circulation space and a centrally placed toilet with space at either end for family carers.
“If we want to market this state as a tourist destination where all local, national and international tourists are welcome, including those with disabilities and health needs, we need to have toilets that everyone can use.
“The United Nations established World Toilet Day to highlight that access to improved sanitation is fundamental to ensuring the dignity, safety and equality of this group of people and to enhance their social inclusion – that includes South Australians with disabilities,” concluded Ms Vincent.
The UN points out that 2.4 billion people do not have adequate sanitation. 1 billion people still defecate in the open. Poor sanitation increases the risk of disease and malnutrition, especially for women and children. Women and girls risk rape and abuse, because they have no toilet that offers privacy.
The aim of World Toilet Day is to raise awareness about the people in the world who don’t have access to a toilet, despite the fact that it is a human right to have clean water and sanitation.