Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Traditional Bhutanese Toilet Habits

The oldest form of toilets in Bhutan were in strange ways comparable to the most advance toilets today because they didn't need to be flushed, they never got blocked, and at the end human waste wasn't a problem. The typical traditional toilet hung from the first floor with a wide opening, and poop dropped one floor straight down losing all its smell in the wind before it landed. On the ground pigs would wipe clean everything as if there never existed a toilet, except for the sticks and stones that were used for wiping (May be our forefathers reused those). Remember not a single drop of fresh water was wasted. In fact some families fought with pigs to save the poop for producing manure.

Traditional Toilet 
Unfortunately, in 90s our toilets changed suddenly and people were obliged to shut their traditional toilets. People found it disgusting to see their own poop centimetres below in the pot, and smell filling up the air tight chamber, worse they couldn't understand the logic behind wasting huge amount of fresh water to wash their waste.

So old habits die hard; they still feel the pigs would eat after they leave and therefore forget to flush (or intentionally save water), and they smuggle in sticks and stones to wipe their hard butts, which land up choking the new toilets.
A typical public toilet 

The fastest way to solve our toilet usage crisis is to bring back our tradition auto system toilet or wait till the last generation of traditional toilet user die. Well that's what most educated experts think when we discuss toilet but that assumption seemed to have caused most of the modern toilet problems in Bhutan.



The assumption is that our people don't know how to use toilet well, therefore our toilets will be dirty, which made our intelligent engineers come up with a solution even before the problem emerged. The solution was to hide the toilet from public places, so that it doesn't become an eye sore in the unforeseen future. Smart solution, because not many people found them and therefore every open space became toilet for our people, and some people who managed to discover the hidden toilet found it very safe to misuse the facility because there is no one around to watch, while others reach there at the end of their wit and let go wherever they could manage to lower their pants.

It's hard to find the starting point of our problem loop- is it because our toilet are hidden that caused the problem or is it because our people don't know how to use toilets therefore it's hidden? Anyway, it's time to break the loop and dare to test our people- present them with clean toilets with adequate water supply at a reachable distance and see if our people are so evil.

During the 18 days Public Toilet Facelifting event by Bhutan Toilet Organization across the country we found out that toilets that are within populated areas are still in use and in better condition, whereas the ones that are tactfully hidden from public eyes are not only blocked and dirty but also destroyed (See the pictures).

Details report from all Dzongkhags will be shared soon.





2 comments:

  1. It is close to midnight here and you just woke me wide awake with your toilet stories. It is kinda shocking to hear about poop from the first floor and down for the pigs. OMG! I am speechless and pardon my ignorance. I am thankful that I learnt so much about your lovely unspoilt country from these blogs.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am not surprised to see those horrible toilet pictures. It is our responsibility to keep toilet clean. I think it's more about hygiene when we see such unclean toilet.
    I always vomit when I smell a poo in the toilet. I get it. Toilet smells. But strong smell, it is just too much. Whenever I visit my mums, I puke each time I am out of our traditionally built toilet. I am not saying I am a clean person, but I just do.
    I wish we could carefully plan to make suitable and clean and useable toilet that can be used for a very long time.
    I always tell my friend and also to myself, one of the things I will miss the most when I return to Bhutan is shower and toilet :)

    ReplyDelete

What do you have to say about the post you just read?

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...