Tag Archives: toilets

J.D. Salinger’s toilet for sale on e-Bay: price US$ 1 million

The toilet J.D. Salinger used from mid-1960s to mid-1980s. "Uncleaned and in it's original condition"

Memorabilia from J.D Salinger are so rare that Rick Kohl of webuytreasure.com is asking US$ 1 million for the reclusive author’s toilet.

It’s almost as if “The Catcher in the Rye” author [...] saw this moment coming in 1953 when he retreated in growing distress about his own fame to small-town New Hampshire and became a notorious recluse.

Salinger’s toilet, the ultimate symbol of privacy for a man notorious for defending his, is being auctioned on eBay.

[Kohl] a well-known memorabilia and collectibles dealer based in Kernersville who has stalked Salinger items for years is asking the standard eBay hey-look-at-this-bizarre-thing-I’ve-got price of $1 million but said he’s open to reasonable offers.

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Morinosuke Kawaguchi: a TEDx talk on “geeky” Japanese toilet technology

Technology consultant Morinosuke Kawaguchi gives a fascinating lecture on Japan’s world famous “super” toilet technology. Kawaguchi is especially known for incorporating elements of Japan’s vast, inventive otaku (geek) subculture in his designs. His recent book Otakude onnanoko na kuni no monozukuri (Neon Genesis of Geeky-Girly Japanese Engineering) explores “the cool and wild territory where subculture can teach technology how to create innovative products with a competitive edge”.

In his TEDxTokyo presentation, Kawaguchi “discusses the Operating-Room-like concept of no touch, the male urge to hunt, female notions of propriety, the significance of six seconds, and how toilet technology services all of these things and more”.

Source: N. Rain Noe, core77, 19 May 2010

More mobile phones than toilets

“The number of mobile subscriptions in the world is expected to pass five billion this year [2010], according to the International Telecommunication Union, an intergovernmental organization. That would mean more human beings today have access to a cellphone than the United Nations says have access to a clean toilet”.

While the author’s intention of this quote is to show how widespread and popular mobile or cellphones have become in developing countries in a relatively short period, it will also raise the question why the sanitation sector  has been unable to emulate this success.

Read the full article: Anand Giridharadas, New York Times, 08 Apr 2010

Public urinals that lure you to pee in them [video]

Designer urinals and toilets

UK: timer device limits civil servants to ten minutes in toilet

Civil servants have been limited to spending a maximum of ten minutes in the toilets – after timers were installed.

Dozens of workers have been caught out since the cost-cutting measures were introduced at the Government Office for the West Midlands (GOWM).

A hidden sensor switches off the toilet light after ten minutes of use.

Staff have condemned the GOWM for the move, which was introduced in a bid to help save millions of pounds.

One worker at the offices in Birmingham said: ”This was brought in without any staff consultation and is both humiliating and degrading.

”Timers have been installed on the lights in the toilets, but everyone was already complying with requests to switch the lights off as we left.

”Can you imagine the indignity of being in a cubicle, letting nature take its course, when suddenly the lights go out, and you have to fumble in the dark to make yourself decent, before struggling to make your way out towards the main door to the toilets where the switch is?

”All the while you are praying someone doesn’t enter the toilets and see you struggling in the dark with your trousers round your ankles.

”This is an undignified and unsafe practice, implemented in a misguided attempt to save cash and energy.”

Similar changes are expected to be rolled out around the country to meet Treasury targets for Whitehall departments to make “efficiency savings” worth £11 billion a year.

The GOWM is in charge of delivering Whitehall’s policies on Health, Justice and Education in the Midlands, and reports back to Westminster on the region’s needs.

A spokeswoman for the government office defended their toilet light switches insisting they save money and energy.

She said: ”We have introduced a range of measures across Government Office buildings to reduce avoidable energy consumption and we are continuing with that work.

”The introduction of sensor switches has not raised comments from staff or visitors and we will continue to explore ways in which to reduce further our carbon footprint.”

Fiona McEvoy, West Midlands Spokeswoman for the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said: ”What planet are GOWM bosses living on if they think installing this ridiculous device equates to an efficiency saving?

”At best this is an inconvenience for staff, at worst it’s a hazard and a ludicrous waste of public money.

”Perhaps executives at GOWM haven’t enough to do if they’ve been dreaming up ways of making savings that look more like schoolboy pranks.”

Source: Telegraph, 29 Mar 2010

Mambapoint toilet photo competition

Mambapoint, a multimedia development cooperation project of the Dutch broadcasting organisation NCRV, has launched a photo competition for the “most bizar, dirty, shocking of beautiful” toilet.

The public can vote until 27 January 2010 for one of the five finalists chosen from total of 15 entries.

Leading the voting so far is the photo below from the Ukraine submitted by WECF (Women in Europe for a Common Future).

Toilet in retirement home in Ukraine. Photo WECF

South Africa: Toilets without walls – residents lodge complaint with human rights commission

For some residents in Makhaza, Khayelitsha [an informal township on the outskirts of Cape Town] , answering the call of nature means huge embarrassment – they have to relieve themselves in full view of the public because their toilets have no walls.

The situation has led to the ANCYL [African National Congress Youth League] lodging an official complaint with the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC). [Note, Cape Town is run the opposition party Democratic Alliance - the title of an article in Times Live on the same story was ""DA has no regard for blacks: ANC".]

Ward 95 Development Forum chairperson Andile Lili warned unless the matter was addressed there would be a repeat of last year’s violent protests.

In his letter to SAHRC chairperson Lawrence Mushwana, ANCYL Dullah Omar region deputy chairman Chumile Sali said residents had to cover themselves with blankets when using their toilets.

“The conditions to which residents are subjected are tantamount to crimes against humanity. Our plea to the SAHRC is to compel the city council to build toilet walls to ensure the rights, dignity, privacy and freedom of residents of Ward 95 are protected, to charge the council with violations of human rights – and to take it to task for disregarding the constitution and the Bill of Rights,” Sali wrote.

Cape Town mayor Dan Plato said the open toilets were an arrangement residents had agreed to and that each household was responsible for building their own enclosures.

“The city’s new housing department initiated the installation of 1 250 toilets in Town 2 and Makhaza as part of the serviced sites provided as agreed upon. The city initially installed the concrete enclosed toilets on a ratio (five plots to one toilet) as this is only a temporary measure until the RDP houses are built,” Plato said in a statement via his office.

“These toilets were rejected by the community and after negotiations it was agreed on a toilet per erf and that the community would build their own enclosures. Once the houses are built these toilets will become redundant. Individuals agreed to build their own enclosure.”

Makhaza grandmother Ntombentsha Bheja said she felt humiliated every time she had to use the toilet. “I was not there when this thing was agreed upon. I want a wall around my toilet but just can’t afford it. I get a grant. I’m 75 and I feel disregarded as an old person. I expected better treatment by the government,” she said.

Resident Sive Jiane said: “I wait until it is dark because during daytime everybody sees you. This makes us feel that low and it is wrong.”

City council manager for new housing, Herman Steyn, said the city would see how it could assist. “We’ll go there and look if there is a way we can maybe help them with second-hand building materials.”

Lili said: “You won’t see this in coloured or white areas. It’s as if blacks don’t contribute to the city. If the council does not respond positively we will make this ungovernable. We’ll destroy council property. Yes, it is breaking the law, but what you see here undermines our democracy.”

Mushwana’s office confirmed that it had received the ANCYL complaint.

Source: Aziz Hartley, Cape Times, 21 Jan 2010

India: US$ 7.9 billion needed to provide toilets to everyone

A study by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) estimates that US$ 7.9 billion is needed to provide toilets for all households that currently lack toilets in India. Of that amount, US$ 4.7 billion is needed for rural areas, and US$ 3.2 billion for urban areas [1].

This figure exceeds the National Commission on Macroeconomics and Health (2005) estimate for ensuring universal access to safe drinking water and sanitation.

To connect all urban households lacking underground drainage to sewer systems would cost about U$ 7.7 billion and for rural households, about US$ 25 billion.

Since these financing requirements are so huge, the ADB paper suggests progressive improvement in the types of sanitation solutions. Sewerage systems tend to benefit richer households; hence, some form of capital cost recovery could be considered to finance sewerage-related infrastructure.

The ADB paper also calls for greater attention for the on the disadvantaged – households from the poorest quintile and scheduled tribes – and the states that have consistently underperformed (Orissa, Bihar, and Madhya Pradesh) could help accelerate further progress.

[1] Bonu, S. and Kim, H. (2009). Sanitation in India : progress, differentials, correlates, and challenges. (South Asia occassional paper series : no. 2). Manila, Philippines, Asia Development Bank. ix, 35 p. : 16 fig., 5 tab. ISBN 978-971-561-828-1

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Affordable Twin Purpose Toilet For World’s Rural Poor

SINGAPORE, Nov 17 (Bernama) – The world’s poor and rural communities will soon have access not only to proper sanitation but also use of human waste fertiliser when a Singapore-based company makes available its locally-designed affordable toilets.

The company, Rigel Technology, has designed a prototype of the toilet, a modular squat toilet consisting of three-in-one pan with a raised platform with a step, a compost chamber and urine collector.

The prototype which is in the final stage of development will be exhibited at the World Toilet Summit and Expo (WTSE) 2009 here early next month, according to the company’s managing director, Christopher Ng today.

Speaking at a media conference here, Ng said the company decided to join hands with the World Toilet Organization (WTO) to produce affordable toilets for rural communities that had no access to sanitation as its corporate social responsibility in serving mankind.

He said the maintenance-free, light (25 kg) and low-cost toilet, made of recycled materials, could be easily deployed without the need to be connected to a conventional sewerage system.

The solid waste is composted for re-use as fertiliser, while the liquid waste is piped out separately via a built-in urine diverter and urea is extracted from it.

Ng said the toilets, to be priced between US$30 and US$100, cheaper than building one that usually costs US$300, would be mass-produced in its factories in Sichuan, China, initially 10,000 units monthly, and marketed from early next year.

Meanwhile, the locally-based WTO founder, Jack Sim said about 2.5 billion people in the world had no access to proper toilet, an emerging market estimated to be worth more than US$1 trillion.

He said the toilets could also be easily deployed and practical for use in disaster areas affected by flood or earthquake, or areas where there were refugees, another new market for the toilets.

The WTSE, ninth in the series and to be held on Dec 2 to 4, is jointly-organised by WTO and MP Asia, in partnership with Asian Development Bank and Singapore’s Restroom Association.

Source – http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v5/newsbusiness.php?id=455939

India’s ‘green and clean’ village

“A small village in the north-eastern Indian state of Meghalaya has become the envy of its neighbours. Large crowds of visitors have been thronging to the village curious to find out why Mawlynnong has earned the reputation for being arguably the cleanest and best educated in India – all its residents can read and write and each house has a toilet”.

Discover India magazine declared Mawlynnong as the cleanest village in Asia in 2003

For the villagers, cleanliness is next to Godliness. Photo: BBC

For the villagers, cleanliness is next to Godliness. Photo: BBC

“About 90km from the state capital Shillong and barely 4km from the Bangladeshi border, Mawlynnong is much loved by its inhabitants who work hard to keep it clean”.

“The streets are all dotted with dustbins made of bamboo. Every piece of litter and almost every leaf that has fallen from a tree is immediately discarded. Plastic is completely banned and all waste disposal is environmentally friendly. Rubbish is thrown into a pit dug in a forest near the village where it is left to turn into compost”.

“The villagers here say that lessons in hygiene start in school so that children can be taught from an early age how to keep their surroundings clean and green”.

“There is a fine imposed by the village council for anybody found to be throwing litter around or cutting trees [...] says village headman Thomlin Khongthohrem. Children are taught to collect litter at an early age. “Besides, the council carries out strict inspections of the sanitation facilities in each house”.

Experts attribute the village’s cleanliness an effective local governance system, a matrilineal society which makes women economically more powerful, and the local inhabitants’ respect for nature. Mawlynnong’s reputation for cleanliness has made it a popular destination for tourists. The Meghalaya state government is promoting eco-tourism in the area but the locals, who have a “fierce sense of self-determination”, are resisting this.

Source: Jyotsna Singh, BBC, 25 Sep 2009