A toilet tragedy in China, an 11-year-old sanitation champion and an end to Japanese squatters

Today’s Metro has a story about Yulin in the North-east of China, where a toilet exploded, killing one person and injuring seven others. A lot of fecal matter at the toilet had allowed for a build-up of toxic hydrogen sulphide, ammonia and methane, which exploded on New Year’s Eve. China’s regional authorities have started investing in modernisation of toilet facilities across the country.


The scene of the explosion – photo from Welbo via Metro


In some Indian schools, lack of toilets is a reason why girls stop attending when they turn 11. One schoolgirl from Jamshedpur was shocked by this and decided to make a difference. Swachh India reports that ¬†Mondrita Chatterjee saved her pocket money and pestered adults for contributions until she had collected 24,000 rupee and used it to build two toilets in her village, the first two toilets ever in the village, serving 350 people. She has been named a “Sanitation Champion” by the local authority.


Mondrita Chatterjee and the toilets in progress – from Swachh India


And finally to Japan, where Japan Today reports that there are demands to replace traditional squat toilets in schools with more Western-style toilets. Most Japanese homes now have Western-style toilets, but some people believe that public buildings should have squat toilets as, according to the Japan National Toilet Research Laboratory, some people won’t want to touch the toilet with their bums after others have. This is contradicted by anecdotal evidence that public buildings with both squat toilets and Western-style toilets will often have queues only for the Western-style ones, so it is unlikely that progress will be halted.


A traditional Japanese squat toilet – from Japan Today


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