16 November, 2011

imagine a world without toilets

Here is the scenario. It plays out like a dream sequence, not unlike the dream everyone has when one wakes up at school in one's pajamas.

Imagine oneself back at school. For some, this is a nightmare in itself....Humour me. Humour is going to be important....

One is back at school and nature calls.

Nature is pretty impatient.

Nature calling, is a euphemism for some thing we rarely discuss but let's speak plainly for a change.

One needs to do a poo. Perhaps one needs to do a wee as well. Approximately half of you also need to change a sanitary product .....and for the purposes of this dream sequence: there is no where to go.

Now, if one was the only person in the world (or the only person at one's school), this may not be such a problem.

However, what would happen in a crowded school (or a crowded planet of 7 billion people) if there was no toilets?

Where would one go?

Where would one hide?

One step outside the classroom and the smell of ammonia and/or hydrogen sulphide (rotten egg gas) wafts on the breeze.

A world without toilets, is a world full of poo and wee.

2.6 billion people do not have to imagine this world. 2.6 billion people live without access to a toilet.

These people without toilets might poo on the beaches. They might poo on the streets. They may sneak out a night to poo in the cover of darkness.

Pooing is a risky business.

Poo is a mixture of human specific pathogens, metabolic toxins in a matrix of indigestible fibre.

That stuff could kill.......or worse, maim.

Imagine slowly starving. Even if one has no lack of food: imagine everything one eats passing straight through one's body...unable to be digested.

A world without toilets, leads to suffering. People suffer. The natural environment suffers. The species that share our biome also suffer (except certain populations of bacteria and perhaps some species of flies......)

On World Toilet Day, please be grateful for your toilet. Please be grateful for your sewers, sewage treatment plants and all the people who clean, maintain and operate the systems that transport and treat one's poo and wee.

Celebrate one's toilet. Give thanks and praise to those who clean them. Think about the impacts of flush toilets. There are now many alternative technologies.

Imagine a world without toilets. Imagine a world where everyone had access to a toilet.

Talk about toilets. Break the taboos and talk about poo.

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