Tag Archives: Airplane

18 June 2017 in Toilets | Stories from Ireland, South Africa, Sweden, China and from the air

We’re starting in my native land of Ireland, where the small tourist town of Dingle has installed public toilets for dogs. Beat 102-103 FM reports that a number of these toilets have sprung up around the town over the last week.

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A dog posing for a publicity shot at one of the new doggy loos in Dingle. Photo from the Dingle Tidy Towns Facebook page


The BBC is reporting on a town in Sweden that is considering playing music in school toilet block. This is to help students who are too afraid to use the toilets for fear of being heard. Apparently, students are afraid of being overheard peeing as well as pooing and some are avoiding going to the toilet all day long as a result.

I always thought of Nordic people as unafraid of their own bodies. That’ll teach me to stereotype.


A temporary settlement in South Africa is requesting its long-drop toilets back. Northglen News is reporting that the settlement’s plumbed in toilets are blocked and the resulting flood means that the residents have to deal with raw sewage swimming about. Also the fact that all water comes from the same source, it means that residents can’t have showers. Modernisation without investment in services would appear to be useless.


A strange story from the South China Morning Post, where the problem of truancy at Wuhan International Culture University, is being tackled with new punishments. Male students who skip classes are being punished by being made to clean the female dorms and women’s bathrooms and the female students who skip classes are being made to clean the men’s dorms and toilets. I don’t understand the gender-swapping. Is it meant to be more humiliating? Anyway, apparently this new policy is proving to be effective and students are no longer staying at home playing computer games instead of going to lectures.


Finally, to the airways, where a story on Australia’s 97.3 FM reports that flight attendants, when forced to clean a little airplane toilet after a particularly smelly poo, will brew a pot of coffee and throw the coffee down the toilet before cleaning in order to neutralise the smell. Something to try at home?


Strike against toilets, a toilet thief and the iToilet

According to The Telegraph, Alitalia is the Pope’s favourite airline. More relevantly to my purposes though, it also reports on a threatened strike on 23rd February by cabin crew as a result of being asked to clean the toilets and to replenish soap and toilet paper on long-haul flights. The airline is under threat of closure from its investors. Of course, the strike is really about a pay-cut and a reduction in contracted holidays, but that didn’t stop the world’s press from choosing the toilets to put in the headlines, because as I well know, toilets get hits.


The Irish Sun has a story about an estate of new-build homes in County Down in Northern Ireland, where a thief made away with 3 white bathroom suites, 3 white ensuites, 3 white toilet and sink sets, 9 white radiators and 1 Vaillant Pro 28 LPG Boiler. The Sun helpfully illustrates the story with stock photos of toilets and radiators, for readers who don’t know what they look like.


Mashable has story today about Apple’s new “spaceship” campus in Cupertino, California, which has been designed in keeping with Apple’s aesthetic and which includes the largest piece of curved glass in the world. A former manager described the toilets as being like an iPhone and this has launched about a hundred speculative articles that say absolutely nothing about what the toilets there look like, but do feature silly fake pictures like this.


What the toilets at the Apple campus probably won’t look like – picture from Mashable (Bob Al-Greene)


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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.”

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The mystery toilets – from the Charlotte Observer


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