So, here’s a bit of trivia that you may or may not know. If you were born in 1973, then you are about as old as the first mobile handheld cell phone (that you could use outside of your car) is. That’s right, this year marks the 40th anniversary of the debut of the handheld mobile phone and the first company to release one was Motorola.
When you think about the fact that 40 years ago, people were limited to using their landlines, it is pretty amazing to think about how far we’ve come. These days, virtually everyone (including children who are not even 10 years of age) are cell phone users and when we say “everyone”, that’s no exaggeration. According to a study that was recently released by the United Nations, there are approximately seven billion people living on the planet. Now guess how many of those individuals are cell phone users? A whopping six billion. That’s right. Six billion people have a cell phone.
OK, but there’s something else that the study revealed that is even more surprising. There are actually more individuals who have access to a cell phone than they do to a toilet. Reportedly, only 4.5 billion people have access to one of those.
Although cell phones have the remarkable ability of keeping us in touch with people all over the world, no matter where we are or what we may be doing, there is still something a bit “odd” about the fact that toilets are far scarcer. After all, many of us would agree that they tend to serve a more relevant service to us on a daily basis. Toilets are not just a convenient way to eliminate waste, they are a safe way of protecting us from it as well. So, if 2.5 billion people are not able to use one, there’s a lot of potential for sickness and disease to transpire across the globe.
Apparently U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson agrees. In response to this data, she has announced that the organization is preparing to launch a proactive effort, one that will insure that those remaining people who do not have toilets will be able to use one before 2016. There will be an exceptional amount of focus placed on India and China, the two places within the world who have the least toilet availability.
The United Nations is not alone in dealing with this concern. In the summer of 2012, the Bill Gates Foundation started their own campaign to “reinvent the toilet” in the sense of curbing the amount of people who have limited access to sanitary waste disposal.
Although this is a topic that a lot of us would probably prefer to not talk about (unless you work for a plumbing company like Filan & Conner), news like this needs to be reported. It reminds us that although technology is such an important part of our daily lives, there are simpler things that are just as relevant— more even.
Don’t believe us? Think about it. If you had to choose between your cell phone and the toilet in your home, which would you go with?
We rest our case.