Thursday, 17 June 2004

From a great height

I have knocked about the world a bit and I cannot understand why it is that until today I had never heard of what is clearly an admirable organisation called Toilette du Monde.

Discretion is clearly their watchword (and quite right too), for they do not seem to have a website, but through Google I found that they took a serious interest in the Ecological Sanitation Workshop held in Stockholm in 2002; the report on this is a thumping good read, with such items as "Discussion on whether men can/should sit or stand..." and a note that "In Afghanistan they....are not aware of the nutritional value of urine...".

But, fascinating as all this is, it is not the sort of thing which normally engages my attention, and I have been looking into it only because a report in my newspaper today says that Toilette du Monde have installed a toilet at 3,167 metres on Mont Blanc, western Europe's highest mountain, and there is a photo showing a modest but not unattractive structure.

There are many questions I should like to ask about this, not least: Is it free? Imagine climbing all that way and then finding you hadn't got the appropriate coin....

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