Tag Archives: India

11 June 2017 in Toilets | Stories from India, the USA, the UK and Australia

First up, Australia, and one of this blog’s trustworthy repeat stories – the crazy things that people flush down their toilets. News.com.au ran a story about a plumber in Darwin and the things he’s found blocking toilets, which include: “dead cats, dirty underwear, sex toys, chain mail butcher’s gloves and soiled nappies”. Apparently, children frequently get embarrassed about having accidents in their underwear and flush them to hide the evidence and this frequently causes the plumber to have to be called.

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Chris Murphy, the Darwin plumber interviewed for this story, with the live cat he rescued from a toilet – photo from NT News by Glenn Campbell

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And now to Huddersfield in West Yorkshire in the UK, where the Sunday Express reports on the controversy around a secondary school’s decision to provide gender neutral/unisex bathrooms for their students in an attempt to be inclusive of students of all modes of gender expression.

Apparently parents (especially of female students) are objecting to the change, principally using the argument that girls will be too afraid of bullying to use the toilets with boys present while they’re menstruating and that each cubicle would have to be fitted with individual tampon machines so that girls could procure these without the boys seeing. If that really is the main argument, then it would appear that the boys’ parents need to do a better job of educating their children about menstruation, but I suspect that that isn’t the only reason behind the objections.

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We’re still in the UK, where Wigan Today reports that a website “Cruising Gays” which lists cruising spots for gay men (places where men can look for other men to have anonymous sex) has ranked the toilets at Wigan Wallgate railway station as the best for anonymous hook-ups in the region. Congratulations?

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A racism row has been reported on CBS’s Dallas-Fort Worth site about the small town of Paris Texas, where signs proclaiming “Negro Toilets” with explanatory notes about the Civil Rights Act, which were erected next to the site of what were formerly racially segregated toilets have been removed. Apparently, the were erected in an effort to educate about the racist past, but the wording has served to offend and reinforce and so they have been removed.

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The offending signs. Photo from CBS DFW, by Brenda Cherry

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Finally, to India, where a court row about two toilets in Bangalore has been resolved after 36 years according to the Bangalore Mirror. The two toilets were built in 1981 by one family. The woman next door claimed that the toilets blocked her right of way between the two houses and demanded that they be demolished so she could access the laneway between the houses. The court rejected her argument, stating that she could not establish that she had a right of way there. However, they also ordered that the toilets be demolished anyway, as they were  taking support from the complainant’s house.  So everyone’s a loser!

Spray, don’t wipe; no toilet, no wedding; and a church toilet for all

The first story today isn’t really news, but I enjoyed it, so here we are. Global Indonesian Voices includes a story today about why Indonesians just don’t like pooing in Europe or America because there is no sprayer attached to the loo and they are expected to use “dry toilet paper to clean away fecal matter”, which apparently grosses them out and doesn’t leave them feeling clean.

The story discusses different traditions around arse-cleaning, and in one of my favourite paragraphs I’ve ever read, explains the differences’ source in weather and history. “As human are creatures of habit, a habit that had been embedded for eons will be definitely hard to change—the using of water for Indonesians is deeply ingrained.It’s very unlikely for the Northerners to bring their bottom down into the icy water. The Southerners, on the other hand, could enjoy indulging themselves to the feel of flowing water brushed against the glutes.”

Brush your glutes with flowing water today, go on. Live a little.

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The campaign to end open defecation in India won religious support this weekend. The Times of India reports that maulvis and muftis (muslim officials) in the provinces of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab will now refuse to solemnise marriages in houses with no toilet. Reading about this necessary campaign day after day does make me feel sorry for communities who have change inflicted on them like this. There seems to be a lot more stick than carrot involved in India’s great toilet revolution.

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And finally, to Liverpool, where The Echo is reporting on a church renovation. The Anglican St Brides apparently prides itself on its inclusivity and welcomes LGBTQIA members. To this end, the new “unisex toilets will ensure inclusivity for visitors of all abilities and gender identities”.

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The planned exterior of St. Bride’s Church – photo from The Liverpool Echo

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Killer public toilets and a ban on menstruating women in the toilet

The Times of India reports on the death of 3 men while they were waiting in line to use a public toilet in the Mankhurd suburb of Mumbai on the 3rd February. The building collapsed around them and five men fell into the 15-foot septic tank, three of them dying. The toilet has had similar problems in the past and seven people have died there in the last two years. A court case has been initiated against the city authorities by the Mahatma Gandhi Centre.

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My Republica has a story from the Bajhang district of Nepal, where remote villages have recently had toilets installed. In 20 of these villages, women have been banned from using the toilet while they are menstruating or immediately post-delivery, by the village elders. This means that these women and girls are forced to relieve themselves in the outdoors to avoid “defiling” the toilets and angering the deities. Menstruating women are even banned from touching toilets, and many women are being discouraged from using the toilets even when they are not menstruating. Local women protesting the decision of the elders say that they carried the mud and the bricks to build the toilets even while they were menstruating and so they should have the right to use them now.

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Flush first, sex in toilets and a new toilet, but no faith

A urologist in Taiwan was giving some fairly regular advice to the Taipei Times for reducing the risk of disease in public toilets, which mainly boiled down to, avoid filth and wash your hands. However, she did give one piece of advice that I hadn’t come across before. Flush before you use the toilet. Firstly, this will allow you to see if the toilet is blocked, but mainly it will “remove any excrement left from the previous user” and will therefore reduce any risk of infection. I guess this is obvious. I’ve just never heard a doctor say it before.

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Two men were in the Newcastle Magistrate’s Court this week, where they pled guilty to a public sex act in the men’s toilets at the Eldon Garden Shopping Centre. The Gazette Live reports that the act took place in front of the urinals and not privately, in a cubicle. It’s not clear whether or not that would have been OK. The perpetrators were fined and are said to be “mortified”.

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The News Minute has a story about a new toilet in Bengaluru. It is a beautiful new facility, but locals, interviewed by the The News Minute don’t believe that it will remain in good condition. There is an older public toilet a few metres down the road, which is broken and dirty with grease-filled sinks and interruptions to running water and which smells so bad that many people choose to urinate outside it, rather than inside. The fruit and vegetable vendors who work on the road are relieved that they will have a clean toilet for a few months, but don’t think it will remain clean.

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The new Bengaluru toilet – from The News Minute

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A Christmas flasher, money for pooing indoors and civil servants driving to the toilet

Essex Live reports on the court appearance of a 31-year-old sales rep who had been enjoying his Christmas party by indulging in four pints of beer and half a gram of cocaine when he decided to go into the ladies’ toilets in the Beefeater where he was partying and take his clothes off, all besides an orange Christmas cracker crown on his head. The court heard that he tied his hands together and bent over so that his genitals wouldn’t be exposed. The man was fined five hundred pounds and ordered to do eighty hours of unpaid work.

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Yesterday, I wrote about an initiative in one province of India, as part of the government’s campaign to end open defecation, where teachers would face disciplinary action or even lose their jobs if they were found to be defecating outside. InUth reports on a more positive effort in the district of Barmer, where authorities are offering villagers 2500 rupees per month to defecate indoors. More carrot and less stick.

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An indoor toilet in the Barmer disctrict – from InUth

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AllAfrica reports on civil servants at the Department of Social Development in Pienaar. Because of water shortages, workers have to drive 6 kilometres to a local shopping centre to go to the toilet. This has resulted in clients with urgent business being left to wait for extended periods of time while staff drive each other back and forth to the toilets.

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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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