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Today is World Toilet day – one that raises awareness of the importance of washroom facilities, cleaning and personal hygiene around the globe. While many of us complain about the abysmal state of some of our away-from-home toilets, others don’t have anything to complain about, in as much as they don’t have any facilities at all. World Toilet Organisation figures show that 2.5 billion people worldwide don’t have access to sanitation at all.
While not wanting to make light of the fact that in some parts of the globe, open-air defecation is the norm, I can’t help but draw a parallel to the fact that in a supposedly developed place like the UK, this practice may well become more commonplace as our councils fight to rapidly close down our public toilets. In my local village, what had once been well-used public toilets are being converted into tiny flats and however hard I try, I can’t think of a public washroom locally that remains open, which isn’t in a shopping mall that’s locked at night-time. Yes I know we badly need more homes, but we need access to washroom facilities when we’re out and about too, don’t we? It’s not that many years ago that they were all over the place; now they’re a rarity.
Gillian Kemp of Public Toilets UK reports that Camborne’s Community Toilet Scheme is working so well that other towns are considering following suit. If you’re not familiar with the concept, five venues are currently taking part: two pubs, a café, a coffee shop and Trevithick Market. Each is paid a small sum to allow non-purchasing customers to use their washrooms and I think it’s a great idea – but it’s only useful if they’re open when you need them, isn’t it? In the meantime, the town’s council-run Rosewarne toilets are under threat of closure!
Other councils and public venues take pride in their public washrooms, knowing that decent facilities will draw people into the area. Many of these will be celebrated on 4th December at the annual Loo of the Year Awards and if you’ve not yet got your ticket to this fun event, contact firstname.lastname@example.org as they’re selling fast.
And as it’s World Toilet Day, if you’re using a public toilet, please respect other users and the cleaners too by leaving it as you’d like to find it. It should go without saying but…
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19th November 2015