Monthly Archives: January 2017

Teachers take selfies with toilets, IBD sufferers demand toilet access and a hipster tradesman christens your loo

The main source of stories for this blog continues to be the government campaign in India to end open defecation, known as Swachh Bharat. The Hindustan Times reports on a coercive element of this flawed campaign unique to the West Singbhum district of Jharkhand. Teachers are being asked to pose for a selfie with their toilet and submit the selfie to the local authorities in order to prove that they are not defecating in the open. Teachers will face the possibility of disciplinary action, including losing their jobs if they do not submit the toilet selfie. Teachers argue that this is unfair if the authorities aren’t willing to help to pay for the construction of toilets for the teachers in their homes.

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A 12-year-old sufferer of Crohn’s Disease has launched a petition to require New Zealand to change the law so that people who have IBD would be allowed to go into an office or a workplace and demand to use the toilets there. According to this article in “Scoop”, People with IBD often cannot wait for the toilet and although there is an “I can’t wait” card, it isn’t legally enforceable. New Zealanders cam support the initiative/petition at the “I can’t wait NZ” Facebook page.

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Finally today, a tweet from hipster tradesman, Logan Sheppard (@LoganShepp)

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Swiss cinema toilets, overflowing train toilets, Steven Gerrard and a regressive petition

In Zurich, you can go to the toilet while at the cinema while not missing any of the movie. There are screens set into the bathroom floors in front of the toilets so you don’t have to miss a minute while you poo!

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Cinema toilets – photo from 9GAG

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The Pune Mirror reports on what sounds like a horrendous train journey where travellers had to go from Pune to Chandrigarh (1853 kms) with a toilet that was overflowing so badly that urine was flowing across the floor of the toilets. Apparently, the problem arose because of passengers trying to flush all kinds of rubbish down the toilets and no action was taken by railway staff to remedy the problem for the whole journey.

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The urine-covered floor of the train – from the Pune Mirror

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I know nothing about football. Like nothing. But The Sun reports that Steven Gerrard could possibly be named Liverpool manager, a remarkable piece of progress considering he started out cleaning the club’s staff toilets. I can’t find any corroborating evidence for this elsewhere – Wikipedia says that he started out as a youth player, but who am I to question The Sun? Steven Gerrard started out as a humble toilet cleaner.

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A petition to ban gender-neutral toilets in schools in the UK claims that boys and girls in schools with gender-neutral toilets are afraid to use them and that it’s becoming a health issue. The petition only has 528 signatures, and it needs 10,000 in order to bring about a government response, so it’s unlikely to go anywhere, which is good.

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Listed Liverpudlian Loos, a Waterless Toilet and Safety from Leopards while Pooing

The Liverpool Echo has a fun video story today about Liverpool’s most famous toilets – the gents in the Philharmonic Dining Rooms, a pub that was formerly a gentlemen’s club. The building, dating from 1898, is a Grade 2 listed building, but the gents are considered so significant that they have a higher Grade 1 listing. The ladies’ toilets are later additions and are not as grand, and so women apparently frequently request to visit the men’s toilets.

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The Philharmonic’s listed loos – pic from the Liverpool Echo

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The Daily Dot has a report on a waterless toilet that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have invested in. It is a sanitary, indoor toilet that can be used in areas without running water. Fecal matter is dried and combusted into ash that is safe to dispose of and liquid waste is processed into usable water. Lack of access to toilets is real health issue and it is claimed that this toilet could save thousands of lives.

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Finally, to the Himalayas, where the Indian state of Uttarakhand is slowly making the journey to ending open defecation, according to a story on YKA. The risks of open defecation have been listed many times already on this site, and they include the spread of diseases like typhoid and cholera, vulnerability to sexual assault, and in this case to leopard attacks. In four months alone, 16 people were killed by leopards, and going out into the quiet wooded areas favoured for open defecation leaves one particularly vulnerable to these attacks. Even though many argue that there is a clear cut case for building toilets in the villages of Uttarakhand, not everyone agrees. The YKA story continues, “This July, eight villages in Uttarkashi district saw people destroying toilets built by Swajal, a government organisation, as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. Villagers believe their gram devta (village deity) was angry with them for blocking his entry into the village by constructing the toilets, and this anger was manifested in the form of some villagers falling ill.” The toilet revolution in India has a long road to go.

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Three surreal videos about toilets

All of today’s toilet news was very similar to toilet news I’ve already reported on, so here are three toilet-themed videos from YouTube.

Firstly, my favourite, a YouTube channel called Toilet Reviews, in which a robot voice sarcastically reviews public toilets. It’s hours of fun. Honest. This video is a review of the toilets in a Ralph’s in West Hollywood, which I enjoyed far more than I expected. The channel regularly updates and currently has reviews of 13 different toilets.

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Secondly, from YouTube user Allan Bradley, there’s this oddly soothing video of a toilet just being a toilet.

https://youtu.be/yCTrphZIM7U 

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And finally, a mildly disturbing video from the Toilets of the World YouTube channel, where the filmmaker films public toilets from a very up-close and personal angle, including before and after pissing images. This is the video of the toilet in Bull Curry restaurant’s toilet in Suma Beach, Japan, one of eight toilets profiled so far in this video series.

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Celebrity Big Brother in the toilet, how gender equality starts in the toilet and how to wee in Malaysia

CelebsNow reports on last night’s events in the UK Celebrity Big Brother house, where footballer Jamie O’Hara and glamour model Bianca Gascoigne couldn’t resist their mutual passions any longer and Bianca led Jamie to the toilets where the cameras couldn’t follow them. As the cameras cut away, Jamie could be heard saying “Mind my zip”. True love.

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Bianca and Jamie – pic from CelebsNow (Rex/Shutterstock)

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The Huffington Post Canada Blog has a very interesting piece focused on the work of the charity Water Aid in Madagascar. The piece argues that access to toilets and running water is essential to advancing equality for women, about one third of whom across the world do not have regular access to toilets. Firstly, if long journeys have to be undertaken by those doing domestic work (almost invariably women and girls) to find water, then they will not have the time to spend at school or doing paid work. Secondly, if schools do not have toilets, many girls around the world will finish their education as soon as they start to menstruate. Thirdly, women and girls who have to urinate and defecate in the open are faced with the threat of sexual harassment and rape. Water Aid claims, persuasively, that ending water poverty increases equality. To find out more about their work, click here.

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And finally, a tweet from @ayeshakhalidah, with a photo of a sign from  public toilets in Malaysia.

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Excellent advice from Malaysia – from @ayeshakhalidah on Twitter

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Worm-infested toilets, a Chinese Michael Jackson and a toilet roll rip-off

Lisette Goaxas, a resident of the settlement of Fransfontien in Namibia has been speaking to New Era to complain about the state of the village’s toilets. The villagers use bucket toilets, which are apparently infested with worms, as the contractor does not empty them often enough. She also claims that the contractor empties the toilets at meal times, rather than early in the morning. Local residents are frustrated, as they believe that no new toilets will be built for years, as changes don’t happen after elections, but during campaigns.

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A 54-year-old cleaner in a Chinese music school watched a group of elderly women performing a vigorous dance routine to Michael Jackson. He was inspired to follow suit and so he started practising in the men’s toilets that he cleaned every day. The video of him performing his routine in the gents’ has, according to GB Times, made him into an internet star.

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And finally, controversy for Tesco, as angry customers claim that they’re saving money on their own-brand Luxury Soft White Toilet Paper, be making the cardboard inserts and thus, providing less paper on each roll. The Metro reports that Tesco deny these claims and say that the weight of each toilet roll is unchanged and the controversy has been caused by “deceptive packaging”. Decide for yourself!

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An old pack of toilet roll (left) compared with the newer rolls (right) – pic from The Metro, credited to SWNS

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Money for poo, goats in the loo and a long walk to pee

All three stories today come from India, where Prime Minister Modi’s toilet revolution, “Swachh Bharat” is continuing with its share of problems.

DNA India reports on a positive story from the village of Kairi in Bihar, where farmer Yogendra Nath, got in touch with NGO Water Aid, who had built 31 toilets in a neighbouring village and got funding to build a similar toilet in her village. They are eco-toilets, which convert human urine and faeces, with the addition of ash, into fertiliser. After six months of use, Nath no longer needs to buy chemical fertiliser and was able to replace it with humanure of the villagers’ own invention, saving them thousands of rupees. “Humanure” is Today in Toilets word of the week.

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Kerala is district that has been declared “open-defecation-free”, but the story of the village of Kulappadi gives the lie to that, as reported in Scroll. It is a small isolated village, but every home has both a TV and a toilet, and it has a 100% literacy rate. In spite of this, it cannot be claimed that the village is open-defecation-free. The village suffers from severe water shortages, caused by a mixture of a historically dry conditions, overfarming of the land and climate change, and therefore the villagers cannot waste the water they walk long distances to collect on servicing their toilets. As a result, some villagers have given up on their bathrooms altogether and have started housing goats in their toilets.

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A goat in a Kulappadi toilet – from K Rajendran on Scroll.in

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Finally, a story about a Mumbai hospital which is in dispute with the owner of a pay-for-use toilet on site, which means that visitors to the hospital have to walk over a kilometre in order to use the toilet. The article, in Mid-Day, contains a number of sad stories of visitors being forced to leave severely ill and dying relatives’ bedsides in order to go to the toilet.  Some visitors have taken to urinating in the open at the hospital and others have tried sneaking into the emergency ward toilet meant for patients, but the report states that this toilet doesn’t have electricity and when it was last visited, it had no running water and was clogged to the extent that many visitors preferred to defecate in the open. The story told in this article is one of a hospital unrecognisable to a comfortable Western reader like me, and is well worth reading.

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