Issue 20
Monday, 20 November 2017
Charles Darwin University
Plumbing lecturer Ray Simpson
Plumbing lecturer Ray Simpson

Special day lifts lid on humble loo: no joke

By Patrick Nelson

If “bathroom humour” gags were flushing through the pipes of social media yesterday, it may have been because 19 November was international World Toilet Day.

And while one may not wish to become bogged down in the finer details, there is a contemplative side to this United Nations General Assembly sanctioned day, as Charles Darwin University plumbing lecturer Raymond Simpson was quick to point out.

“A nation’s ability to provide quality water and to manage its sanitation is a distinguishing characteristic between Third World countries, and First World countries like ours,” he said.

“And it all starts with the humble toilet, which we can thank for having added 20 years to the human lifespan over the past two centuries.”

Mr Simpson said that while Australians generally took the toilet for granted, there were 2.5 billion people around the world without access to clean and safe toilets.

“Diarrhoeal diseases are the second most common cause of death among children in developing countries, resulting in one death every 20 seconds.

“It’s quite scary when you consider that one gram of poo is home to 10 million viruses, a million bacteria, 1000 parasites and 100 worm eggs.”

Mr Simpson said that plumbers had played an enormous part in the well-being of rich nations such as Australia.

“As a career choice, I can’t speak highly enough about what plumbing has done for me. There has been a lot of positive change in the plumbing industry since I first came to CDU in 2008. I would love to be starting again right now.

“Since completing a plumbing apprenticeship, I’ve established and run businesses in three states.”

Mr Simpson is part of a dedicated team of lecturers involved with the delivery of plumbing courses at CDU.

“We have a really good group of smart young people coming through. The skills, knowledge and experience they’ll acquire during their studies and apprenticeships will serve them well.”