‘Beauty Spots’ where to go when there’s nowhere to go? This week’s news on loos & no. 2s.

Getting out and about as lockdown eases. Illustration from the children’s book ‘All Animals Poo & We Do Too’ copyright Hendriksen & Hopson

Scoop the Poop. The past few weeks have seen more and more people out and about in the sunshine at parks and beaches. But at the same time public toilets have so far remained shut. This has led to a number of headlines highlighting the growing problem of ‘where to go when there’s nowhere to go’ and what’s subsequently been happening to these well-loved beaches and beauty spots. We’re used to the ‘scoop your poop’ signs and doggy doo’s bags and bins for our pets, but as for us humans? A more tongue in cheek sign at Trinity Bellwoods Park in Toronto, Canada recently served to highlight the issue, one that we felt needed to be discussed in this week’s post. Here’s that exact article by Jenny Yuen for The Toronto Sun in which she said, “Ten thousand people, no bathrooms, you do the math.” So we did – see below!

Facebook | Ira Samuel Cohen

Scoop on the Poop. To focus on one country as an example, the UK has approximately 9 million pet dogs. One in four households in the UK has a pet dog, and they produce 1,000 tonnes of poop a day, or 365,000 tonnes a year [Hansard UK Govt.] and that’s about 85,000 times as heavy as a Hippopotamus [The Measure of Things.] Now that your imagination is ignited… That would mean that in theory if the UK population still had to poop their average 4-500 grams a day outside [LiveScience] then at 68 million people, we would be depositing the equivalent weight of approx. 68 million adult Pandas of poop in the open each year. That’s without accounting for the use of tissue to clean up after, which would mean mountains of mess throughout the land and widespread disease. Fortunately for us that’s not the case, but remarkably it is still the case for 1/3rd of the world population.

To be in the Loop. This may seem rather abstract but it helps us to add a perspective on outside pooping, and also introduces the more serious and less publicised point that open defecation (rare in the toilet owning world), is a huge problem for over 1 billion people worldwide [WHO] that still have to ‘go outside.’ An even higher figure if you add those without access to basic sanitation or water, which brings the total to 1 in 3 people globally. Add to that the extraordinary number of diseases associated to this scenario and you may be surprised to learn that those diseases include; cholera, diarrhoea, dysentery, hepatitis A, typhoid and polio. According to the WHO diarrhoea remains a major killer (432,000 diarrhoeal deaths annually). So far 380,000 deaths have occurred worldwide from coronavirus. But, better water, sanitation, and hygiene could prevent the deaths of 297,000 children aged under 5 years ‘each year’ from said diseases.

The Big Necessity.‘ There are many resources you can access if you want to know more, and plenty of statistics and eye-opening stories but our ‘take home on this’ is that while the problem is being addressed through a number of determined passionate people and organisations, this is nowhere near enough supported to stop the tragic and yearly consequences from being anywhere near adequately addressed. For what we consider to be one of the most ground-breaking, informative and unforgettable books on the subject, go buy Rose George‘s, ‘The Big Necessity‘ – it’s a fascinating read as she exposes the biggest single unexposed health problem on planet earth.

When Nature Calls. Meanwhile back to where we started, and a few links to get you through the weeks ahead until the public toilets reopen. Stay safe, stay aware and please leave no trace when pooping outside to keep other safe too. As an addendum, we just spotted an article in the Evening Standard by Lezlie Lowe, published today 5th June, entitled, ‘As lockdown eases we need to talk about toilets.’ Here, Lezlie reiterates the comments we’ve made and also those we discussed about improving public toilets for women, link here. Well worth reading as she’s researched the subject far more than we, and do buy her book too, ‘No Place To Go: How Public Toilets Fail our Private Needs.’ The other article that’s popped up since we published was in HuffPost on 6th June, where Sophie Wilkinson writes for ‘Opinion’, ‘Public Toilets Are An Equalities Issue. Why Don’t We Care?‘ Great to see these expert views on the subject.

  1. Huffpost: How To Pee And Poop Outdoors If Provincial Park Washrooms Are Closed.
  2. Road Trippers: Nature is calling: Here’s how to poop properly in the great outdoors.
  3. A classic list from Adventure Journal: Seven Ways to Poop Outdoors.
  4. The Manual: How to Poop in the Woods: A Guide for When Nature Calls.

We’ll be back again next week.

Catching up on the recent news on loos & no. 2s…

Neanderthal to Now
‘Neanderthal to Now’ Squatting or Sitting on the Throne [from ‘All about Poo’]

Straighten the kink. With the UK Bank Holiday just past, on Friday we were discussing our patents pending for an attractive manufactured accessory to help lift your legs and mimic a squat when you sat on the toilet, straightening our colons. In fact that’s were our banner idea came from (above) ‘Neanderthal to Now.’ Interestingly the subject of how best to poop popped up again yesterday in a UNILAD article, ‘Only 11% Of People Poop The ‘Healthy’ Way, QS Supplies Study Finds‘ by Lucy Connolly. As per our own research and further medical evidence, ‘So then why is the footstool the way to go? Well, while sitting with your feet on the ground might relax the puborectalis muscle slightly, it still takes quite a bit of effort to push the waste through because the position of the rectum is still kinked up. However, if you introduce a footstool and sit with your knees up above the hips, leaning forward slightly, this kink is removed and the faeces is able to empty out quickly and thoroughly.’

Having taken up Friday’s post on that kinky business, we neglected to do our usual round up of the week’s news on loos and no. 2s so here it is:

Worth taking time out to watch… ‘Two Ply Over The Cuckoo’s Nest‘ is the grand prize winner of KQED’s Homemade Film Festival. A stop motion ode to quarantine made entirely out of toilet paper.

With a daily routine of exercising outside being a major help in times of lockdown, news keeps breaking on how people are managing, or not, with the public toilets being closed. So, from HuffPost‘s Doug O’Neill, ‘How To Pee And Poop Outdoors If Provincial Park Washrooms Are Closed.’

Waiter, there’s a poop in my soup. As practically every living creature poops, we also like to keep updated on their poop news too, so here’s a round up on ‘All Animals Poo and We Do Too’ with some news that may surprise or entertain you, take your pick. Firstly, ‘Shinohara has high hopes for a range of additional insect-based products, including beer made from crickets and a tea made from silkworm excrement.’ On Business Day, ‘Creepy-crawly soup, with silkworm-poo tea.’

Then in no particular order; In Science News, ‘Tapirs may be key to reviving the Amazon. All they need to do is poop‘ by Gloria Dickie. On ABC.net Australia, ‘Fish poo and gut goo are helping scientists eradicate a major pest on the Great Barrier Reef‘ Podcast [7mins] by Patricia Karvelas on RN Drive with Neil Byrne, preceded by some Kangaroo news. ‘This Is Why Magpie Poop Is Black And White‘ Gisela Kaplan for Gismodo. From BBC Earth [on Facebook] see, ‘First Year on Earth: Hyenas have white poo‘ [1min 24]. Death by Poop, ‘Ice Age giant sloths died in a pit of their own poop‘ by Mindy Weisberger for LiveScience. Finally, as it’s been all over the news this past two weeks, we’ve picked EcoWatch, ‘Antarctic Penguin Poop Emits Laughing Gas‘ by Jordan Davidson.

Adventures in the World of Human Waste. On that happy note regarding penguins, we’ll be back on Friday, and the following week we hope to have a catch up on ‘The Big Necessity‘ by Rose George, who in 2008 published the first popular study on the subject of the world of human waste. Apart from highlighting a few remarkable facts and observations from Rose, now, 12 years later what’s changed in solving the single biggest unsolved public health problem on the planet?