Monthly Archives: December 2016

A Chinese revolution, toilet malfunctions in air and at sea, and a parade of toilets in Charlotte

India has been undergoing a revolution in toilets since the Swachh Bharat campaign was launched in late 2014, and now the Chinese government is following suit. CityLab reports that the Chinese government has announced a $290 billion investment programme in upgrading the nation’s toilets over the next four years.  Although Beijing and other large cities have modern toilet facilities (the last “nightsoil collector”, whose job is was to manually clear out human waste from toilets, stopped working in Beijing in 2000), most of the country still depends on unsanitary toilets. The government’s stated motivation is that new toilets are needed to boost tourism. However, there is a sound public health motivation too, as the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention reports that fecal contamination and unsafe drinking accounts for 80 percent of infectious diseases in rural China.


A toilet block in a Chinese village – photo by Jason Lee/Reuters


Two stories this week show that toilets can severely impact on your travel plans.

A story in Stuff describes how a ferry from from Wellington on New Zealand’s North Island, to Picton on the South Island was delayed in the departure port for 3 hours while technicians worked to clear a clogged toilet. Eventually, the toilets were unblocked, and a passenger happily declared “The toilet gurgles give me hope”.

On the other side of the world, the Independent reports on a flight from New York to Paris, which had to make an unscheduled stop at Shannon airport in the West of Ireland to allow passengers to use the toilets as the toilets on board had become broken, delaying arrival time by some two hours.


Finally today, a protest that never happened in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Charlotte Observer reports on an incident that bemused and amused neighbours of Mecklenburg County Commissioner Pat Cotham. On the street outside her house, a toilet appeared. This was soon joined by three more identical toilets. There was speculation online that this was a protest against the controversial anti-trans Bathroom Bill in North Carolina and there were plenty of jokes at the expense of the commissioner. The online furore reached the ears of a neighbour of the commissioner who emailed the Observer, stating, “Mystery solved! This is my house! I am remodeling and swapped out my 4 toilets for low flush models.”

Potty parade.jpeg

The mystery toilets – from the Charlotte Observer


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Drunk Katie Price,why covering a toilet seat with toilet paper is pointless and All I Want For Christmas Is A Loo, Baby!

The Sun reports that an insulation firm were disappointed when they booked Katie Price and Dane Bowers to appear at their company Christmas party. Katie Price was paid £13,000 to come to the party, but the boss now wants his money back. Apparently, Katie arrived at the party in an advanced state of intoxication. She was rude and abusive to various party guests. She then made her way to the ladies’ toilets where she stripped down to a thong and knee-high boots. The Sun has video of this on their website. They don’t report on whether Dane Bowers got up to any hijinks. They do, however, include the wonderfully gross detail that Katie also blew her nose on a tablecloth at the party.


In an article about the futility of everything, 22 Words reports that there is no point in covering a toilet seat in a public convenience with toilet paper before you sit down, because your skin is a fine barrier against bacteria, and even if it wasn’t, toilet paper in a public bathroom will have the same, or probably more fecal bacteria than a toilet seat, as will basically everything else in the room. You might as well just give up and live in filth.


from 22Words


And finally, a wonderful charity campaign video, made by, advocating for more businesses and public buildings to instal truly accessible toilets with a hoist and bench for those in need, using a song based on Mariah Carey’s incomparable Christmas hit of all hits.


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Toilets as a defence from tigers, a Frenchman wees in Shanghai, more flushed toys and a leeky loo

Villagers in the Pilhibit Tiger Reserve traditionally go to the nearby sugarcane fields to defecate and in doing so, they put their lives at risk. The Times of India reports that tigers lurk in the same sugarcane fields and three villagers have been killed as a result of big cat attacks between October 24th and December 11th.  The district administration has decided to try to prevent further deaths by building indoor toilets for all the houses in the reserve and has applied to the state government, which has offered to pay for toilets for 60% of the houses in the 275 affected villages.


The Global Times, an expat news site for China, reports on this Frenchman’s concerns in his Chinese office. He’s clearly suffering from culture shock, one of the symptoms of which is feeling as if your host country is dirty. He complains about his colleagues smoking and chatting and using their phones in the toilets, leaving the cubicle doors unlocked while they’re on the toilets and, hilariously, missing the urinals and wetting the floor. I’m sure no one in France ever misses the urinal. It’s an entertaining read.


Another day, another story from a UK local authority admonishing people not to flush anything other than the three Ps down the toilet. In case you’re wondering, the 3 Ps are pee, poo and (toilet) paper. ITV news is reporting that Wessex Water have issues a press release on the strange things they’ve found in the sewers. These include the dreaded wet wipes, which are clogging the drains across the country, as well as a headless Buzz Lightyear toy, and, incredibly, a child’s scooter.


Finally today, a tweet from Swedish Canary, whose toilet once again has a leek.


The leeky toilet – @SwedishCanary on Twitter

Christmassy blocked sewers, cat poo and how to use a Japanese toilet

Stop flushing weird things, people. The Derby Telegraph reports that Severn Trent are asking people not to flush their Christmas presents down the toilet. Is this not obvious? The released details of strange items that were recovered from the sewers at Christmas, including motorbike parts, underwear and a pair of Muppet slippers. Stop it, people of Derby.


Underwear recovered from the sewers by Severn Trent – from the Derby Telegraph


I’ve noticed an increase in stories about cats using human toilets in the news recently, if you’re someone who follows these things. (I can’t be the only one.) The Lexington Herald Leader reports on an invention by Elizabeth Stone, “The Purrfect Potty”, a device that clamps onto a regular toilet seat and allows cats to poo there. To be honest, I find this more creepy than useful, but different strokes for different folks I guess.


A cat using the Purrfect Potty – from the Lexington Herald Leader


Finally today, an amazing video from a Japanese telecommunications company on how to use Japanese toilets. It shows you how to wipe yourself after squatting, how to position oneself when using a bidet jet and how to clean your smartphone. I enjoyed the video so much, I’ve watched it three times already.


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Trumpy Toilets, Floods of Sewage, a Condomberg and a Charity Toilet Sit-in

I don’t know why journalists are looking for new angles on Donald Trump. He’s providing more than enough to report on anyway. The Indian news site,, nonetheless dug out an old story about the President elect working in his own Chicago hotel. The headline proclaims that he cleaned the toilets. Unfortunately, the only picture they provide is one of him cleaning a sink.


Trump in rubber gloves – from


In an “informal settlement” in Capetown, South Africa, News 24 reports that residents’ homes are being flooded by overflowing communal toilets.  The local council has spent a week trying to clear the blockage and have been unsuccessful. Locals say that the toilets are getting blocked more often due to the lack of sufficient toilet facilities for the population. People are also using the toilets to get rid of domestic and food waste.


The flooded toilets in Cape Town – by Ashraf Hendricks on GroundUp


English authorities also struggle with people flushing things they shouldn’t. The Sun is reporting on Anglia Water’s problems removing a 21-tonne “fatberg” from the sewers in Lincoln, which has also been christened a “Johnnyberg” because one of the items (along with wet wipes, tampons and fat) that blocks up the sewers is condoms. Stop flushing condoms, you guys.


The  Lincoln Johnnyberg that took a week to clear – from The Sun


Finally today, a charity event in Idaho that I don’t really understand, where students will be sponsored to sit on toilets for poor and homeless families.

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From the Idaho Press

Japanese toilet paper, Indian urinals, Nando’s and a baptist church, Danger in McDonalds, awful Instagrammers and a baby kangaroo

We start with a picture tweeted by Joel Hensley of toilet paper for old people in Japan, which has been printed with warnings about scammers and criminals.


Japanese toilet paper – from @gryphtor on Twitter


This story from the Times of India outlines the shortage of women’s toilets in Pune, including the installation of new mobile toilets with panic buttons. It’s easy to get angry that toilets are still such dangerous places for so many women. (More on that below.)

The new toilets aim to address the following problem:

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From the Times of India

(lakh = 100,000)

I don’t quite understand what a urinal is in India.


In other Indian news, @DGNewsClips on Twitter reports that thousands of new toilets have been announced in New Delhi, in a “toilet inauguration spree”. I like the idea of a toilet inauguration spree. I only ever heard of “shopping sprees” and “killing sprees” before.  I like the idea of politicians rushing from toilet to toilet inaugurating with gay abandon.


In the first of two stories about UK councils’ public toilets, Oxford won a prize for the best toilets in the UK. I’m only including this story for the amazing photo in the Oxford Mail of the council staff receiving the award. Look at all those men and how bad they are at smiling.


From the Oxford Mail


Also in the UK, Camden Council in London are closing public toilets and replacing them by paying local businesses to allow the public to use their toilets. According the Ham and High, the council is saving money by closing three public toilets and paying 12 businesses £750 each to let the public in. The council will also advertise for these businesses. In the name of providing a public service, the council are now paying NANDO’S and a Baptist Church to let people pee. Nando’s. And a church.


Another case of women being infringed on in toilets in the Ipswich Star, where it is reported that a man was convicted of helping his colleague, called “Danger”, to install a camera in women’s toilets in McDonald’s where they were working. His lawyer insisted that he only did so because of the threats from Danger and not for his own sexual gratification, which is the reason it was treated as a minor offence. He’s been banned from every McDonalds in the UK, and given a 12-month community order, as well as 150 hours of unpaid work and a fine.


People find lots of ways to be awful. “Rich Kids of UK” on Instagram posted this photo. Screen Shot 2016-12-15 at 14.17.13.png


And finally, we turn to toilet roll, children and animals. This DIY/parenting blog suggests toddler-proofing toilet paper with an elastic band.

And then there’s this video of a baby kangaroo discovering the joys of toilet roll.