Happy (belated) World Toilet Day, everyone!
Wait…what? That’s right, 19th November was World Toilet Day. Though it sounds like a joke, the holiday represents a serious effort by the World Toilet Organization to educate people about what they call the “silent sanitation crisis.”
With that in mind, here are 10 facts about toilets around the world:
1. In 2013, 1000 children died every day due to diseases contracted from poor sanitation, including lack of sanitary toilet facilities. (http://worldtoilet.org/)
2. Around 2.5 billion people, or 40% of the world’s population, do not have toilets available to them.
3. More people have access to cell phones than toilets.
4. The global cost from diseases spread by poor sanitation is around $260 billion per year.
5. On a more humorous note, the world’s fastest toilet is the “Bog Standard,” which is mounted on a motorcycle/sidecar combo and can reach a top speed of 68 kph.
6. The world’s smallest toilet is a marvel of Japanese nanotechnology.
7. The world’s largest toilet is also possibly Japanese: a 200 square meter women’s restroom in Ishihara. Unfortunately, the Guinness Book of World Records has declined to investigate their claim.
8. The world’s most expensive toilet costs $6,800.00 and comes with frills like mood lighting, a heated seat AND heated foot rests, “warm wash” and “air dry” features, stereo sound and smart phone compatibility.
9. The first known flush toilet is actually Scottish: the ancient Neolithic village of Skara Brae had a primitive flush toilet system. The village was occupied from 3180 BCE to 2500 BCE.
10. Assuming you live in a developed country, you’ll probably spend about 3 years of your life sitting on the toilet.
Toilets in Translation
Around the world, toilets range from Western-style tanks and bowls to simple squat toilets. Nature calls no matter where you are, so “Where is the toilet?” is one of the key phrases travelers should learn before visiting another country. Here are some translations:
Spanish: ¿Dónde están los sanitarios? or ¿Dónde están los servicios? or ¿Dónde esta el baño?
French: Où sont les toilettes ?
Italian: Dov’è la toilette?
Portuguese: In Portugal: Onde está o WC? or Onde está a casa de banho?
In Brazil: Onde é o sanitário? or Onde é o lavatório?
Polish: Gdzie jest toaleta?
Russian: Где находится туалет?
Japanese: 便所はどこですか (benjo wa doko desu ka?)
Mandarin: 廁所在哪裡？ [厕所在哪里?] cèsuǒ zài nǎli?
Hindi: टॉयलेट कहाँ हैं (tāyalet kahāṁ haiṅ?)
You may have missed out on the chance to participate in the “Urgent Run” charity fundraiser for World Toilet Day, but you can still help out by donating to the World Toilet Organization.