Tag Archives: School

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.


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


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.


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?


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.


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


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!

The floral urinals of Paris, a rattlesnake family in a Texas toilet and a Scottish High School re-opens its girls toilets

Paris is combating the problem of people (mostly men) who urinate on the streets by experimenting with a fragrant solution. The New York Times reports on two “uritrottoirs” that have been erected outside Gare de Lyon. These are flower pots standing on top of a container of straw, which, when mixed with urine creates a compost. If the uritrottoirs are a success, they could be rolled out across the whole city.


A uritrottoir – from the New York Times


Yet another story about snakes coming up through the toilet. In Texas, CNet reports on a story where “Big Country Snake Removal” were called to remove a rattlesnake from a toilet and then in a terrifying twist, they found another thirteen adult rattlesnakes in the cellar. Mind your bums, folks.


Rattlesnake in the toilet – from the Big Snake Country Removal Facebook page


The wonderfully-named Dunfermline Press and West of Fife Advertiser has  a report on the curious closure and re-opening of the girls’ toilets at St Columba’s High School. The school had started locking the girls’ toilets from lunchtime until the end of the schoolday, claiming that this was in response to truancy. A 14-year-old student started a petition, complaining that the lack of toilets was unsanitary and embarrassing. Within 24 hours, she had collected 500 signatures and the toilets have now re-opened. The Headmaster said “This was a short-term measure to address specific issues of vandalism and truancy surrounding the main girls’ toilets just before Christmas. We wanted to try something different to disrupt this pattern of behaviour, change the school culture and improve the facilities for pupils. We encourage and listen to pupil feedback. The temporary closure was always going to be reviewed this week and, taking into account the petition, the toilets have now been re-opened.”


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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!


Cinema toilets – photo from 9GAG


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.


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


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.


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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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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Mexican toilet art, toilet segregation, smelly politicians, hypocritical politicians and broken toilet seats


Some of Kurt Hollander’s photos of the toilets of Mexico City – from the Guardian

Kurt Hollander writes in the Guardian about the toilets of Mexico City. He is a photographer who found himself suffering from chronic ulcerative colitis and hence found himself in many public toilets. He was delighted, in his pain, by the quirks of the toilets (of very varying quality) that he found himself in, and he created a photo series based on these. He says that they are tourist attractions and that the photos contribute to a true chronicle of the city. “I see it as my duty to work against all those superficial, hygienic, promotional views of the city that delete the raw material, sickness and death from our culture.”

Next to Breitbart, which reports a sad story about a form of sectarian segregation in Pakistan, where Christians and Muslims are expected to use separate facilities, including separate restaurants, shops, water fountains and sometimes toilets. One Christian school girl, according to this story, was beaten by the school principal for using the Muslim school toilets.

In more cheerful news, a meeting of the Nigerian Parliament had to be cancelled because their toilets were so smelly. 360 NOBS reports that the House of Representatives meeting was postponed for almost a week as a result of the stench.

I don’t know where South Lanarkshire is, but apparently, its Council’s Deputy Leader merits a story in the Telegraph. This is because the deputy leader (Jackie Burns) was caught urinating on the street, which was noteworthy because he had been responsible, months before, for closing public toilets in the area. He said: “I was in a taxi rank at the Bottom Cross in Hamilton and needed the toilet. I went down a lane to relieve myself and was approached by police, who gave me a £40 fine which I have duly paid. I am embarrassed by the incident and have apologised.”


The kind of sign that will soon be placed in Yellowstone’s toilets – from the Jackson Hole News and Guide

Finally, to Jackson Hole, USA. The Jackson Hole News and Guide, who report on new signs that are to be installed in Yellowstone National Park’s toilets. This is a result of high numbers of broken toilet seats, which is being blamed on increasing numbers of Asian tourists, who are climbing up on toilet seats and squatting, rather than sitting in the American style.