The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mind your lavatory, not your language

Singapore, Nov. 19 (Reuters): Flushed with the success of making the island’s lavatories amongst the cleanest in the world, a Singapore-based organisation marked World Toilet Day today with a call for more hygiene in public facilities.

“What we are trying to do is break the taboo over toilets,” said Jack Sim, a founding member of the non-profit World Toilet Organisation. “Everybody talks about what goes into the body and no one talks about what comes out,” he said.

The two-year-old World Toilet Organisation, which aims to raise global awareness of toilet and sanitation standards, marked its annual World Toilet Day with a call for people to speak out against poorly-designed or filthy latrines. The group is collecting tips ahead of a World Toilet Summit to be held in Beijing next year.

The group — whose members include the British Toilet Association and 17 other similar organisations from 13 countries — has a list of top-10 latrine essentials that Sim says will lead to“happier people”. The average person, according to its website, visits the toilet 2,500 times a year — meaning you spend nearly three years of your life in the lavatory.

To make the experience more enjoyable, parents should teach children to aim properly, toilet seats should be wiped clean before and after use and flush handles that don’t work should be reported. The group also urged new projects to alleviate a serious lack of toilets in many parts of the world.

“More than half of the world population do not have toilets. They are defecating openly,” said Sim, who is also president of the Restroom Association of Singapore. Women, he says, suffer most from poor public lavatories.

“The amount of space for women’s and men’s toilets is often a mirror image of each other. But the female requires more than that because they don’t have urinals,” he said. “The men just go to the urinals, zip down, shoot, finish. That usually takes about 32 seconds.

“A woman can take three times as long. This means a queue can form — and when there is a queue it starts to get dirty.”

Singapore boasts some of the cleanest public lavatories in the world — helped in part by automatic flushers and laws which impose fines on people who don’t flush after use.

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