But India is seemingly entering a golden age of sanitation. Airwaves and public spaces across the country are inundated with messages urging everyone to keep their surroundings clean, build toilets and help end open defecation. Governments across the country are on a mission to build millions of toilets to make India open defecation free by 2019.
Some people hate being in a plane for a long period of time, but I love it: it means you're off to a faraway destination. When I booked my 15-hour direct flight to India to attend a wedding, I was excited. The long flight also meant I would have enough time to watch at least five Bollywood movies.
The global statistics are staggering: 2.4 billion people do not have access to a toilet or latrine. About a billion of them have to defecate in the open, which often leads to serious public health problems. And more than half of the schools in the developing world lack private toilets.
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Safe drinking water and decent toilets should be basic essentials in every school, everywhere. Unfortunately, it's not the case for millions of children in the world. Take the 500 students at St. John Bosco Gayaza Primary School in Uganda for example. The water source they rely on is an open pool located about one kilometre from their school.
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My intentions were honourable. I just thought my cats would appreciate some fancier litter boxes, something a bit more dapper than the usual plastic rectangles. I was so wrong, and I paid for my hubris.
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You might want to carry some tissues or toilet paper to be safe.
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A closer inspection of the bacterial species revealed only few pathogenic species. Of those, most were unable to survive over long periods of time. There was little to no risk for infection. As to the majority of bacteria found, they were common, and harmless, fecal and skin bacteria. Even high frequency use of a toilet could not develop pathogens in high enough levels to cause infection.
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Although the finished product may appear almost the same, there are many reasons to consider going with a one-piece or two-piece toilet: A two piece model connects a separate tank and base/seat, which are bolted together on site, while a one piece toilet includes everything already attached seamlessly.
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It's been known for some time that germs can be found in the atmosphere and they have made clouds a happy home. But more important than how they survive is the question of which germs are surviving and whether they pose a threat to our health.