A Special Meeting with Mr Toilets

Monday 9th November 2015

Directly following our latest management meeting, held in Westminster, we were delighted to meet with Mr Jack Sim the founder and CEO of the World Toilet Organisation. Many of you will remember that in 2005 the BTA hosted the World Toilet Summit in Belfast – the first and only time that it has been staged in the West. This event brought over 400 delegates from over 30 countries to the UK to discuss and debate toilet related issues and new technologies.

Jack was in the UK to visit and give lectures at both Oxford and Strathclyde universities. He holds a professorship in environmental studies and was speaking to students on the social and economic impacts of sanitation and hygiene issues on developing countries, business and the populous.

We had an extensive opportunity to hear about the work of the WTO and were able to confer some of our development plans for the coming year. He was excited to hear about Toilet Map and the exciting work that we are doing with Mencap and Pamis to develop this Pilot project. Additionally we spent some time discussing the difficulties that the BTA has continued to experience trying to get the government to recognise the fact that toilets are not about Waste Management but in reality Health & Well-being, Equality, Social Inclusion and personal Dignity.

Jack was astounded to hear that an estimated 50% reduction in public provision has occurred in the last 10 or so years. “where are these people going” he asked and we discussed Community schemes and Private providers. However, he recognised our concerns that independent public provision is major necessity for a transient nation and outdoor workers. Opening times are usually greater and facilities are usually visible from the moving vehicle.

He asked about street urination and defecation and we had to confirm that the incidence of this disgusting practice is now being increasing reported. “You cannot allow the UK to continue to loose its fantastic reputation as the founder of modern sanitation.” The WTO continues to wage a constant fight for the rights of over 2 billion inhabitants who have little or no access to fresh water or proper sanitation. “Don’t tell me the United Kingdom is going to slip backwards into a third world position where disease and sickness is rampant from the viral infections transmitted from dirty streets” He has agreed to write to our PM & the government outlining the absolutely disastrous path we are currently treading if closures do not cease.

We have asked for the WTO to consider granting us an opportunity to host a future summit – perhaps between 2018 – 2020. In principle Jack was extremely keen for this to become a reality and the BTA management team will now consider and debate this possibility. It is expected that he event would be set for London and we would need to secure some sizable sponsorship partners to cover the considerable costs that could be expected.