World Plumbing Day is coming up on March 11th and it is easy for us to take for granted the everyday conveniences and health benefits that come with modern indoor plumbing. Many of us grew up with indoor plumbing and the ability to bathe whenever we desired. Others may remember a time when they had an outhouse instead of an indoor toilet. In fact, there are still a few older buildings in the area that still have an outhouse in place of a toilet.
Could you imagine having to run outside, late at night, in the middle of winter, just to relieve yourself? While this idea may seem farfetched to many of us, modern day plumbing conveniences are relatively new in American history. Only about 24% of the homes in America had indoor plumbing by the end of the 19th century. Less than a hundred years ago, most people in America would bathe just once a week. And when people did bathe, it would often be in water that was heated on the stove and several family members would share the same water. It wasn’t until the 1930’s before the majority of people living in urban areas finally had access to indoor plumbing; this includes running water and use of an indoor toilet. Many rural homes did not catch up in the plumbing department, until after World War II.
Nowadays, indoor plumbing is a staple in most of our lives. We here in the St. Louis Metro East are lucky enough to have access to clean, safe drinking water and working indoor plumbing. But not everyone is that lucky, according to the World Health Organization there are 2.4 billion people, roughly 32% of the world’s population, do not have access to adequate or acceptable sanitation accommodations and at least 750 million people across the globe do not have access to safe and clean drinking water, some of these people live in the U.S. It is estimated that each year, 3.1 million people die from water-borne diseases, tied to a lack of sanitation facilities.
The World Plumbing Council has dedicated March 11th as World Plumbing Day, with the goal of shining a light on the lack of safe and clean water throughout the world. World Plumbing Day is also designed for people to show their appreciation for plumbers, the plumbing industry and the work they do to help keep the world a healthier place to live. For more information about World Plumbing Day and how you can help visit www.worldplumbingday.org.
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