Gravity-producing toilet for Aussie astronauts
WHILE you were busy guessing the name of the next typhoon, or whether Jack Jakosalem deserved to be the next Ernie Baron, the rest of the world was holding conferences everywhere on an issue that is of greater universal significance: the toilet.
Last Thursday in Seoul, the World Toilet Association held its first major gathering to voice out its disappointment that governments are not giving “the matter of defecation as much attention” as hair care and halitosis.
The Seoul conference followed the one in India where delegates from dozens of nations gathered for the World Toilet Summit to put an end to “open air defecation” as a favorite third world pastime. “Against Canines and Filipino Men,” the World Toilet Summit formed a sub-committee on urinals, “For the Protection of Defenseless Walls and Car Tires.”
The New Delhi summit was organized by the WTO. If there wasn’t any anti-globalization protester making noise there, it’s because WTO stands for World Toilet Organization. No activist wants to carry a placard that says, “No To Toilet Globalization.”
The World Toilet Summit brought together 170 toilet experts from more than 40 toilet-loving countries to exchange toilet notes on the future of toilets. Their concern was that there are not enough toilets for all six billion of us in this planet. And if this problem is not addressed immediately, only the 170 of them will be left to have toilets by 2015 while the rest of us will come knocking at their doors at the first sign of indigestion.
And just yesterday, dozens of toilet-loving NGOs marked “World Toilet Day” by launching international campaigns for “more hygiene awareness and investments in toilet facilities.” Yes, yesterday was “World Toilet Day,” and you never even cared to say good morning to your broken toilet seat.
Your toilet has the attention of our global leaders. The United Nations has declared 2008 as the “Year of Sanitation,” which I suspect is actually a sanitized version of the originally proposed “Year of the Toilet.” We can forgive the UN for the euphemism. After all, they give us the figures: 2.6 billion of the six billion people on earth today do not have access to safe and hygienic toilets. That’s more than 40 percent of the global population.
What is 40 percent of the global population? I’m poor in math, but just imagine walking down the street in your neighborhood. Count 40 steps, stop, look to either side, there’s a 40 percent chance the house that stands there has no toilet. If it’s a vacant lot with lots of grass, that’s the toilet itself. The UN target is that toilets are provided to half of these 40 percent by 2015 and to all of us by 2025. Which means, by the time we will have individual toilets, they no longer have any use to us because we are already wearing adult diapers.
Here’s more. About 1.8 million people, mostly children, die every year from diarrhea-related diseases that are mainly blamed on poor hygiene and the use of tabloids as toilet paper, the World Health Organization said.
If you’re a politician and you say there are no votes in the toilet so this article is not for you, listen to Australia’s number one toilet plumber Kenny Smyth, who attended the World Toilet Summit as the inventor of the “Gravity-producing Toilet for Australian Astronauts.” He said “unequal access to toilets is a human rights violation — worse than not being able to vote.” Now, you know where to focus your next campaign.
OK, I’m done. Where’s the toilet?
(Sun.Star, Nov. 27, 2007, Opinion Page)