The privilege of flushing, toilet twinning, poo-filled beards, arrested for using the wrong toilet and two-ply paper

Our first story today is one of poverty and bureaucracy. According to this story in New Zimbabwe, the local council in Chipinge is destroying pit latrines in suburban areas. They claim to be doing this for hygiene reasons. However, residents argue that the council does not provide them with enough running water to use indoor toilets in a hygienic way and therefore the pit latrines are essential. If writing this blog is teaching me one thing, it’s a constant reminder about the privilege of flushing.

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A pit latrine – picture from New Zimbabwe

The Bath Chronicle is running a good news story about “toilet twinning”. A primary school in Bath has raised £900 to twin their school toilets with toilets in Chad. Luckily, the money will go towards providing water, as well as building toilets. If you like the idea of toilet twinning, or your community/employers/school would be interested, have a look at www.toilettwinning.org.

One thing you might not want to twin a toilet with is a beard, but the news that took the hipster world by storm this summer is still doing the rounds of the internet. According to this Vuz video, beards have more germs than toilets and can be full of poo particles. Ugh.

In today’s Daily Sabah, there is a report about a Vienna to Abu Dhabi flight that made an unscheduled landing in Turkey because the air crew had arrested a passenger. A 60-year-old Slovak woman became ill during the flight. When she found that the economy class toilet was occupied, she used the business class one, over the objections of business class passengers and staff. “When she came out, she was confronted by the pilot, several stewardesses and business class passengers. An argument ensued and Kmetova was handcuffed and the plane requested to land in Ankara.” When she landed, she was escorted off the plane and the pilot refused to take her to her destination even though she couldn’t afford another flight. In the end, the airport night manager got her a night in a hotel and a ticket with another airline to Abu Dhabi. He said, “some Europeans see Turks as barbarians but at the end of the day, it was the Europeans who treated others poorly.”

Finally, in a truly happy story, and I think my favourite toilet story since I started this blog a whole week ago, comes from The Diamondback, the student newspaper of the University of Maryland. After months of student advocacy, the UMD dorms are to pilot a scheme where they will provide 2-ply toilet paper instead of 1-ply toilet paper. The university currently spends about $74,500 a year on toilet paper, and the change will add about $23,000 in expenses. “Part of it is offset by the fact that people don’t need as much [two-ply toilet paper], but we’re not sure what that means for the budget,” McGee [UMD’s assistant director for building services] said. “We are kind of guessing that it is 50 percent more cost overall, but we’re not sure.” Do you use 50% less of two-ply toilet paper than 1-ply paper? Let me know!

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This is what 2-ply paper looks like in a UMD dorm. Photo from the Diamondback.

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