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Meet Mr. Toilet: The Man Trying To Make Commodes A Global Status Symbol

Toilets. You might take them for granted, but in much of the world, not only do people not have them, they don’t even want them. Watch this short movie about Jack Sim, who hopes to change that by making the toilet an object of desire.

"When we are children, our parents tell us not to talk about shit." So says Jack Sim, founder of the World Toilet Organization. Sim’s goal is to make sure everyone is shitting in toilets, because that way, nothing is getting contaminated.

"Shit is like fire," he says in this short documentary about his work. "If you managed it properly, it cooks your meals. If you don’t manage it properly, it burns down your house." In other words, let’s use it for fertilizer instead of letting it kill millions of people a year.

The problem that Sim confronts is that, in many countries, people enjoy defecating outside. In India, especially, open defecation is a huge problem that results in massive health concerns. But it isn’t just poverty, it’s culture. For instance, between 1997 to 2000, the World Health Organization subsidized the construction of 1.6 million outhouses in India. Today, only 47% are being used in the intended manner. The rest are used for storage.

Sim hopes to change this by impressing on the wealthy that shit flows both ways: They can get sick from contamination even if they have a lovely toilet. And by making the toilet something everyone needs. "We want toilets to become a status symbol for the poor, so they feel proud to own a toilet."

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  • Soroosh Mohammadi

    Hello. Iam a civil engineer 42 old years and living in Iran.I made a kind of tolilet that :astand alone unit without piped in water, a sewer connection,no electricity and sanitation,economic,weightless,inexpensive and useful for all places. If your organisation give me an appointment I will be happy to show this new toilet. My cellphone 00989113730615 and my email address : God bless you. Mohammadi Hossein

  • Appecotech

    He makes excellent points here. Especially about how organic waste can be a problem or an asset. If more people understood this they would DEMAND that every sewage facility and most landfills in the world be replaced or upgraded to high tech methane digestion systems such as the ORB system.

    Without locally reprocessing organics in cooperation with nature we will never have true sustainability.