Tag Archives: people need toilets

World Toilet Day

17 Nov

What is World Toilet day and why should we care about it?  Nearly half of the world’s people do not have access to sanitary facilities where they can relieve themselves.  That’s 2.6 BILLION people.  We treat poop with a sense of humor, but this subject is anything but funny.  This lack of sanitation kills 1.8 million people a year, and most of those people are children.  Most of the world’s illnesses are caused by fecal material and related contamination.  Diarrheal disease kills around 5,000 children every day.  Every day.  That’s 5 times as many as those kills by HIV/AIDS.  So why don’t we hear about this?  One of the reasons is that the topic of defecation is taboo.  We need to discuss it.  The World Toilet Organization is the leading nonprofit that aims to mitigate this health crisis by improving sanitation conditions in the globe’s most needy communities.  Please visit their website to learn more about the issue, donate, and get ideas about how to help.

Please join us this Friday, November 19, in celebrating World Toilet Day.  It’s a crappy day to bring awareness to a very worthy cause.  Most of us take for granted that we have a clean safe place to pee and poop.  We are among the lucky half.

Also feel free to join us in our own efforts to continue to remove the taboo from poo.  After all, shit happens.  

Want more poop humor bringing awareness to the global sanitation crisis?  Check out this guy.  Be sure to visit their site on World Toilet Day and view their hilarious 10 minute film for free.  They will be donating money to Water Aid, a group with the same mission as the World Toilet organization.  http://www.bogstandardfilm.com/about.html

Visit www.worldtoilet.org to learn more about World Toilet Day and the organization’s efforts to help improve global sanitation conditions.

Keep canning public toilets and there’ll be a mass movement

15 Nov

By Geoff Strong from The Age

Which genius thought to get rid of WCs while the population ages?

I decided one night a couple of weeks ago to fill my car at a service station in Ringwood East. While the car’s tank was near empty, mine was full and as part of the transaction I was intending to use the toilet. Given that I was also able to refill myself from any of the drinks they had on offer, expecting somewhere to empty out seemed a fair deal.

After paying, I discovered the toilet was locked. I asked the young attendant, who confirmed this was intentional. When I asked where I could go to pee, he just shrugged. I suggested I might go in the drinks aisle or out front near one of the bowsers, but he was unfazed.

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The exchange reminded me of an altercation in a French hotel years ago when my wife was refused the opportunity to use les toilettes des dames. When she threatened to seek relief in the hotel lobby and began disrobing, the refusal was reversed. I had no such luck in Ringwood East.

I initially put this down to Generation Y’s inability to understand the sensitivities of ageing organs, but then I realised it was part of a wider tendency. Public toilets – or private toilets open to the public – are becoming more scarce.

There was a golden age of public toilet building in Australia. In the years immediately following World War II, the urge to purge was well understood and brick public dunnies were everywhere. Their placement was often impressive. I have noticed that wherever the ancient Greeks or Romans spread their culture, they built marble temples on prominent hills, headlands and other beauty spots.

In postwar Australia, our priorities ensured such sites would usually be occupied by a structure that was often occupied. But we appear now to be doing away with them.

There was a stunning piece of toilet architecture that disappeared from Flagstaff Gardens a few years ago. It was long, sleek, 1950s modernist design with sandstone walls and a touch of Frank Lloyd Wright. It occupied the highest point of the gardens, so if you had an urgent need you knew where to sprint. Now, whenever there is an ”event” in the gardens, a couple of portable loos are trucked in to stop people relieving themselves amid the agapanthus.

The same demolition has happened to a round toilet block in the Fitzroy Gardens, which I suspect might have been the work of the same unrecognised architectural genius.

We have long been reminded of the challenges we face with an ageing population. Some of these challenges entail cystitis, prostatitis and irritable bowel syndrome. Before long, half the continent could be incontinent.

What are we doing in preparation? Either shutting down public loos or replacing them with those stupid single-throne bunkers with automatic doors taking up the space that could be occupied by a pee trough and several cubicles.

My wife refuses to use them, fearing she might be locked inside, forever forced to listen to an endless stream of piped music. It is an irrational fear because no matter where you use one of these things – from Brisbane to Ballarat and, presumably, Baltimore – they only play the one tune.

After a little fanfare, to cover the time needed to remove clothing, the public address system launches into an up-tempo version of the 1965 hit What the World Needs Now is Love (Sweet Love). Should love be the purpose of visiting this place, it would have to be quick, because an American-accented voice warns, ”you have 10 minutes”.

What the world needs now is more public toilets. In Italy they hardly exist, forcing those in need to visit a cafe. In parts of India it is still OK to excrete on the street. But why is this happening in Australia, once able to boast clean rest rooms to shame the world?

As usual, it is probably to do with costs, but have the bureaucrats who make these decisions based them on projected need?

I suggest they take the time for a time and motion study.

Meanwhile, what options are there for those being caught short? Most of those now faced with this prospect are part of the pesky demographic known as baby boomers. In the heyday of boomer youth, any protest inevitably entailed what was called a ”sit in”. These days, we need to get the message to authorities to uphold the right to normal bodily functions. Perhaps we need to organise what might be termed a ”shit in”. One way or the other, I feel it will grow into a mass movement.

Geoff Strong is an Age senior writer.

(We have to agree with Geoff – might be time for a “shit in”!!)

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