Give A Shit on World Toilet Day

Do you scrunch or fold? Should the roll be under or over? Do you take a book or read the newspaper?

I haven’t said it yet, but you already know exactly what I’m talking about.

The loo. Toilet. Dunny. Crapper. Lav. Powder room. Shitter. WC. Restroom. Throne. The pool. Latrine. John. The can.

Today is World Toilet Day. Yes, World Toilet Day. This is a real day that really does exist. It has been unofficially celebrated around the world for a number of years, and in 2013 it was finally recognised by the UN as an international day.

So, bust out the candles, bake a cake, and here are 4 reasons you should be celebrating your lav today.


4. Beautiful design & architecture

Every year, awards are given out to the most outstanding toilets in the world by organisations such as Design Curial, the Restroom Association and the British Toilet Association. These are serious awards, with many beautiful public toilets being recognised all around the world.

Everyone has a memorable loo. It may be a quiet spot on campus overlooking a nice courtyard. Or a toilet in a stone building with a view over a medieval city. Or how about London’s Shard for a view-and-a-half-oh-my-word!

Toilets and sewerage architecture have given us gems like the Cathedral of Sewage and the Crossness Pumping Station in London, beautiful pieces of Victorian architecture which last today, although no longer with their original functions. Maybe it’s because it’s so unexpected, but the number of beautifully designed toilets is amazing.

The Cathedral of Sewage, Abbey Mills, embankment, London, shit pumping station, toilet, sewage, sewerage, world toilet day -
The Cathedral of Sewage, Abbey Mills.


Crossness Pumping Station, world toilet day, 1 billion people without toilets, hygiene, sanitation, clean toilets campaign -
Crossness Pumping Station


3. It gives you thinking space

Long before Thomas Crapper delivered us the viable flushing toilet as we know it today, our ancient Roman ancestors utilised their loo time to sit around and have discussions. Public toilets were large, commodious, communal places, where people would sit, amicably chatting with their colleagues, and emptying their bowels.

We’re rather more refined these days, but the loo is still a great place to socialise. A recent study has found that three-quarters of respondents admit to using their phones on the toilet, either to play games or interact on social media. Keep that in mind next time you hit up Tinder.

Another study, this one by Dr Ron Shaoul, in 2009, found that around 64% of men and 41% of women take some sort of reading material to the lav. It’s common, but is it good for you? There’s no definitive data about whether or not it’s healthy for your bowel movements, but it’s definitely good for finding a few minutes to yourself – and in this crazy world of constant interruptions that sounds good to me.

Beware, though – nasty microbes hang around, although they last longer on your phone than on the pages of a book. Always wash your hands after visiting the loo – and maybe choose Ulysses over Angry Birds. James Joyce is probably better for your bowels, anyway.


Recreation of Roman Loos, wanaka, NZ, New Zealand, ancient rome, toilets, social toilets, communal, world toilet day -
Recreation of Roman Loos


2. Breathtaking technology

Ever heard of biosolids? This is a nice word for the process where they take what you dropped in the loo, treat it, and use it as fertiliser on crops which you then eat. It’s called a closed circle.

You, my friend, are part of the circle of life. Just by taking a dump.

In fact, let’s not stop there. Sewerage systems in modern countries are extraordinary. Pipes all over the world are moving people’s poo around, escorting it to large processing tanks where your effluence is separated, dried, treated, sterilised and then either pumped out to sea, buried or used as a fertiliser.

That’s amazing.

When Joseph Bazalgette was commissioned to build the sewerage system for London he calculated how wide each pipe should be in order to handle all the effluence of the city. Allowing for every possibility that may make a larger volume than expected, he decided to double the diameter of the pipes.

“Well, we’re only going to do this once,” he said, referring to the laying of the pipes. And he doubled them again.

The only reason the sewerage system in London has managed not to bubble shit into the street is due to the magnificent foresight of people like Bazalgette.


And the number one reason you should be celebrating your toilet this World Toilet Day is…


1. You actually have a toilet

Toilet and view from The Shard, London, loo with a view, poo, world toilet day, people have nowhere to go toilet, organisation, campaign, toilet information and history -
Toilet and view from The Shard, London

One billion people around the world are forced to poo out in the open, with no privacy, no facilities and no sanitation. As you can imagine, this leads to health problems such as the spread of cholera, typhoid, hepatitis and polio.

In total, 2.5 billion people lack access to ‘improved sanitation’ which is the nice way of saying they don’t have a proper toilet.

As well as contaminating water sources and agricultural fields, going to the loo in open areas leaves women vulnerable to sexual assault. Many girls stop going to school when they start menstruating, because schools don’t have the facilities to cater for privacy and waste.

Think about it. Every time you go to the toilet, you don’t risk your health, your physical wellbeing or your safety. Imagine if that weren’t true. Imagine if, every time you felt the urge, you had to wonder about where you would go, and what could go wrong when you got there. That’s the reality for one-sixth of the world’s population.


Toilets are pretty funny, and they’re also damn useful. So today, on World Toilet Day, be thankful that you can use a loo whenever you need to. And maybe when you go to spend a penny, spare a thought for those who can’t.

Viva la toilet!


If you give a shit, there’s more information, here:


Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.