Flush Twice for World Toilet Day

World Toilet Day Takes the Taboo Out
of Discussing Critical Sanitation Issues

Approximately 1.8 million people die each year from sanitation-related illnesses. Unfortunately, lack of access to proper sanitation for the 40% of the world’s population without toilets is literally a matter of life and death. This annual death rate is more than for those who die from AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined. The water and sanitation crisis has claimed more lives than all the wars of the 20th century combined. Saddest of all is that most of these casualties are children. Yet, even with such tragic statistics, talking about toilets and sanitation remains an issue many have felt uncomfortable discussing. 

In 2001, the World Toilet Organization (WTO) and 16 other toilet organizations around the world declared November 19 as World Toilet Day to begin to change people’s attitude and encourage discussion of sanitation concerns. A highly-engaged partner in many of the WTO’s initiatives to improve sanitation and safe drinking water worldwide, the International Code Council (ICC) is proud to support the World Toilet Organization’s campaign. Over the years, an ever-growing number of people and countries plan various public activities in a concerted effort to dramatically raise awareness of the global sanitation crisis. In fact, UNICEF recently joined these organizations by also declaring this date an official day of recognition of this crisis. 

“Personal sanitation and hygiene is something most Americans are embarrassed to talk about,” said Jay Peters, Executive Director for the ICC’s Plumbing, Mechanical and Fuel gas (PMG) Group. “World Toilet Day draws attention to the issues in a way that compels us to address them.” World Toilet Day is also hailed as a day where everyone can take part in a “Big Squat.” This purposeful title is presented in a direct but humorous way to lighten the discomfort many cultures have with discussing the topic openly. People around the world are asked to squat in public for one minute in support of World Toilet Day, driving home the point “where would you go?” and how people without toilets are forced to go in public places. Participants are encouraged to notify local media to attend, and to upload a photo of “Big Squat” participants to encourage others to join. 

Continuing to expand the talk about toilets, the Code Council and WTO are working with worldwide industry experts representing sanitation-related organizations around the globe on a new document, called the “Global Guideline to Practical Toilet Design,” that will standardize the design and installation of public toilets for virtually any country in a way that is easily to adopt and follow. This Guideline will facilitate clean, convenient, hygienic and safe public toilet facilities, as well as offering guidance on basic care and maintenance. The Guideline will, not only reduces costs, but may enable installations in areas where previously they might not have been affordable. 

The Code Council also began a “Safe Water” initiative in 2008 to call attention to the startling statistics caused by improper sanitation and impure water. Every 15 seconds a child dies from a waterborne-related disease. Safe drinking water is unavailable to 1.1 billion people. Over 40% of people have no access to toilets. As we now know, something virtually everyone in the U.S. takes for granted is a huge issue in many undeveloped countries. 

Schools, businesses, organizations and others are coordinating efforts as simple as distributing information to showing sanitation crisis-related films. The goal of every effort is to raise awareness and get people to become intrigued enough, and comfortable enough, to hopefully ask what the significance really is of “World Toilet Day.” The Code Council urges everyone to learn more about the global sanitation crisis and get involved to help to improve the lives of billions of people around the world. 

For more information on World Toilet Day, visit www.worldtoilet.org/wtd. To learn more about the Code Council’s global sanitation efforts, contact the PMG Resource Center at 1-888-ICC-SAFE, x4PMG or [email protected]

Topeka as a Verb?

Somehow it just doesn’t have the same ring as “I’ll google that.”

But we might as well get used to it. As of 1:00 am this morning Google has officially changed its name to “Topeka.”

The official company release cites the recent move by Topeka, KS mayor, Bill Bunten, to change the name of his city to Google. In a rapid turn of events the search giant stunned the business world by returning the favor- and re-branding themselves as Topeka. Reminds me of the cult classic film, A Boy and His Dog.

Google Renames Company Topeka

Best and Worst of Superbowl 44

Congratulations to the New Orleans Saints. Now to the important stuff…

I thought the Superbowl ads this year were pretty mediocre overall. I missed the “controversial” pro-whatever ad, but there were a few spots that did catch my eye. For better or for worse. We’ll start with better…

I don’t typically think of “cute” when I think of Google. But their Google Goes to Paris spot was clever and effective. Okay, it was cute. The entire spot was a series of searches on the oh-so-familiar Google search box with various manipulations of the suggested results. It goes through a series of searches about traveling to Paris, falling in love, moving to Paris, then ending with a search for baby crib assembly instructions. What they must have saved on production costs!

Appealing to the fairer sex, or more accurately- fans of Cute Overload, this Carmax spot played up on the pets-with-a-dramatic-look phenom. Kudos also go to Carmax for daring to show a woman posing as a car saleperson. Who knew?

And then there’s the worst spots.

Daring Dodge
You’re whipped so you rebel and buy the car you want. Yawn. Reminds me of the Simpson’s where Homer buys the snowplow. But a Dodge Charger is faster than a snowplow. Yeah maybe, but they’re still fugly.

Audi’s Green Police
I thought this ad was somewhat funny. But I wasn’t sure who Audi was attempting to alienate. Their iClone design-conscious customer base or greenies that might be interested in a low-smoke diesel. Has anyone in Germany heard about this red state/blue state thing?

And finally, while not a commercial, the halftime show is such a short concert it’s kinda’ like a spot.

Townshend’s Shirt Tail
Somebody do something about these wardrobe malfunctions. Please. Half the guitar solo was spent untangling his coat from the guitar. C’mon Pete- you can afford to buy a new shirt.

Until next year.