In an interview with the Inter Press Service (IPS), World Toilet Organization (WTO) founder Jack Sim discussed his reasons for starting the organization and his future goals for reversing the world-wide toilet shortage.
The news source relates that upon his 40th birthday, the former construction executive realized he had to do something meaningful with his life. He decided to focus his attention on improving sanitation. In addition to starting the WTO in 2001, he also founded the Restroom Association of Singapore in 1998.
"The toilet was completely neglected in Singapore. I realised it was the same all over the world," he told the IPS. "People felt very embarrassed. Now I’ve broken the taboo and legitimized the subject through 12 years of effective advocacy. I am proud to say I have broken the taboo surrounding the subject of sanitation."
He went on to explain that 50 to 80 percent of worldwide diseases could be prevented through proper sanitation and appropriately-timed hand washing. He also stressed the need for toilets that are maintained by a government or private owner and can't be stepped in or washed away by torrential rain. It's also important to keep flies away from toilets, he said.
Sim's adventures in toilet advocacy
Although the philanthropist prides himself on his attempts to remove the taboo of discussing the toilet shortage, The Huffington Post reports that he hasn't always been successful.
In early 2012, Sim tried to get a noted Bollywood actor to star in a film decrying the global toilet shortage. She passed on his idea, possibly because the script called for her name to be spelled out in a river of feces during the opening credits.
However, his successes outweigh his failures, according to the news source. Thanks to the WTO's efforts, areas in need can purchase open source toilets that only cost $32.
But there's more to the sanitation crisis than simply helping the poor, Sim told the news provider. He expressed concerns that the global environment would suffer if everyone in the world used as much water as Americans. The solution for that, he feels, is more environmentally friendly toilets.
"[We should] design new lifestyles that are environmentally sustainable that effectively becomes a global trend," he told the news provider. "We need to make simplicity 'cool,' in the same way we make toilets sexy."
Labels: Toilets and Bidets