Whether you call it a toilet, loo, lavatory, John, can, outhouse or potty, many of us hold a special place in our hearts for the receptacles we use to deposit our wastes. Think about it: The average person will spend one to four years on the toilet over their lifetime.
But not all toilets are created equal.
There are ones with innovative technologies and designs. Take the toilet of the future: The Gates Foundation-backed, solar-powered, self-cleaning toilet that converts urine and waste into hydrogen and fertilizer. Or the more artistic ones, such as the glass-walled bathrooms in Texas. Or the smartphone-connected toilet that can be hacked.
The vast majority are what you’d expect: whether it’s boring stalls and urinals, squat toilets in India, or fancy seat-warming toilets in Japan.
But the point of World Toilet Day is to remember that you are among the fortunate ones, if your toilet falls in these categories. 2.5 billion people around the world–or one out of about every three people–don’t have a clean toilet. 1.1 billion defecate in the open, starved of the basic dignity of privacy. Millions of people die unnecessary deaths due to diseases tied to poor sanitation.
The first step to dealing with the problem is to realize how lucky we are and open up a conversation about toilets.
What does your toilet area look like, at work or at home? What do you do to make it your own space? What are your biggest toilet pet peeves? Show us by sending us a picture (and a caption if you like) by using the hashtag #checkoutmytoilet on Twitter or Instagram.
We’ll feature many of your submissions in the gallery above (keep it clean!). We’ll keep updating the post all day, and mixing in interesting toilets from around the world.
If you’d like to do more, please visit the World Toilet Day page and find out how else you can contribute.