Singapore rolls out World Toilet Day exhibition

Singapore is panning its prudish image to highlight the plight of 42% of the world’s population who live without proper toilets and sanitation.

Dotting the city centre will be 28 life-sized cutouts of men and women squatting behind everyday objects, such as piece of luggage, a rubbish bin and a bag of groceries.

“We want to make people think, ‘How would you feel?’ if you had to do your business openly,” Jack Sim, founding member of the Singapore-based World Toilet Organisation, said today at the launch of the four-day exhibition marking World Toilet Day.

Sim said the figures were meant to be “artistically presented as they try to hide behind objects to maintain some privacy and dignity.”

An estimated 2.6 billion people have no access to basic sanitation, according to the United Nations, which wants to halve the number by 2015.

Sim said the World Toilet Organisation had been working with Habitat for Humanity in tsunami-hit areas of Sri Lanka to offer training to rural residents in building sanitation facilities which do not pollute water resources. He said he hoped to take the training to other countries.

Meanwhile, Singapore has also released guidelines designed by the National Environment Agency to reduce long lines at women’s toilets.

In all new public toilets, the number of female cubicles will exceed the facilities for men.

“All new buildings will have more toilets especially for women, so there will be potty parity,” Sim said on behalf of the environment agency.

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