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Around The World In Six Toilet Flushes

It's World Toilet Day and if there's anything that can unite us all, it is the knowledge that everyone has to go to the toilet at some point in any shape or form.

By the end of it all, the average human being would’ve spent three years on the toilet in their lifetime. Celebrate World Toilet Day and travel six times around the globe to uncover its interesting toilet tales.

1. Cellphones: The Ultimate Toilet Companion

In case you were wondering if the future is here yet, the fact that more people in the world have mobile phones than toilets should convince you. In most developing countries, sending a whatsapp message is more of a possibility than finding a flushing toilet. In countries like Afghanistan, television is more common than toilets.

01 Feb 2015 --- Woman surfing Internet via smartphone at the toilet --- Image by © Arman Zhenikeyev/Corbis
Surfing the internet via smartphone at the toilet is standard practise worldwide — Image by © Arman Zhenikeyev/Corbis

2. Squat Toilets

Squat toilets are still commonly used in many Asian and African countries including South Africa. You’ll find them in China, Korea, Burma and Taiwan and many rural areas in sub-Saharan countries like Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Tanzania and Uganda also use squat toilets but the same rules apply everywhere, clean up after yourself.

Ghadames, Tripolitania, Libya --- Libya, Ghadames, old stone latrines (UNESCO World Heritage Site) --- Image by © Anthony Asael/Art in All of Us/Corbis
This squat toilet is a heritage site in Libya – Image by © Anthony Asael/Art in All of Us/Corbis

3. The Flying Toilet

Ever heard of the flying toilet? It’s not really a toilet in the sky like you would imagine. In the harshest sections of Nairobi, Kenya, the “flying toilet” is the most commonly used method of waste disposal. People defecate in a plastic bag and chuck it as far as possible and go about their day. Needless to say, the streets are clouded with these smelly bags that allow diseases like malaria and typhoid fever to thrive.

07 Oct 2005, Port Harcourt, Nigeria --- A small child uses a dirty plastic bucket as a toilet in Njemanze, a slum community along the waterfront in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Areas like this are hotbeds of gang violence and extreme poverty that exemplify the lack of development and support for the local communities of the oil producing Niger Delta. This community has been the scene of violence in recent years between "cults', or gangs supported by the government. --- Image by © Ed Kashi/VII/Corbis
In Nairobi, flying toilets are dumped all over the streets Image by © Ed Kashi/VII/Corbis

4. Under Toilet Arrest

Singapore takes their toilet etiquette very seriously. You can get arrested by police if you use a toilet in public and neglect to flush. Either that or you can be subject to a $500 fine and even a public caning for leaving behind an unwanted surprise for the next person.

August 1983, Yosemite National Park, California, USA --- A ranger takes a handcuffed and arrested camper to the patrol car. The camper, who is very likely intoxicated, was arrested after complaints of disorderly conduct were made against him. Yosemite National Park, California --- Image by © Jonathan Blair/Corbis
In Singapore, bad toilet etiquette can get you arrested Image by © Jonathan Blair/Corbis

5. Check Your Deposits

Looking for a receipt when you check your deposits for health reasons? Germany and Austria’s solution comes in the form of “washout toilets”, which feature an inspection shelf to catch your deposit. If you’re curious about what you’ve been eating, this is the way to go.

November 1980, Houston, Texas, USA --- The first version of NASA's weightless space toilet didn't work properly for female astronauts. --- Image by © Roger Ressmeyer/CORBIS
A high tech toilet can help you check your balance after you make a toilet deposit, — Image by © Roger Ressmeyer/CORBIS


6. Flush Back to the Future

Toilet design has hardly changed over generations but you can trust Japan toilets to take the toilet design to the future. It’ll cost you a buck, about $5000 to be exact but some high-end futuristic toilets come with automatic lids, temperature controlled bidets, heated seats, driers, deodorizers, music, and even medical sensors with options for measuring the pulse, blood sugar, and body fat of the user. If that isn’t enough, the Japanese have also developed bathroom urinal video games that will bring the likes of Sega, controlled by the stream of the player.

11 Mar 2015, Frankfurt, Rhineland, Germany --- A visitor inspects flush toilets on display at Grohe pavilion in ISH trade fair, in Frankfurt, Germany, 11 March 2015. The ISH is the world's leading trade fair that provides the world's biggest showcase for innovative bathroom design, energy efficient heating and air-conditioning technology and renewable energies, from 10 to 14 March 2015. --- Image by © Horacio Villalobos/Corbis


Check out this informative video for more fun facts:


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