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The Business of Toilets

Posted by: Stacy Perman on August 13, 2008

porta.jpg paris.jpg line of t's.jpg
They say that necessity is the mother of invention. That being the case, there’s a huge opportunity for some enterprising entrepreneur in toilets. In this, the Year of International Sanitation, the venerable Foreign Policy magazine released a report on the hardest places in the world to find a functioning, clean bathroom. According to FP “2.5 billion people around the world don’t have access to hygienic bathroom facilities.” While New Yorkers routinely fume about the lack of public toilets available in their city and you might think twice about waiting until you get home, if you’ve ever found yourself in one of Paris’ public toilettes, there are many others that have it much, much worse. In Eritrea where 85% of the population relieves themselves out in the open, the country holds the distinction of ranking not only as the worst place to find a toilet in all of Africa but the world as well. Haiti claims the title as worst in the Americas, Nepal takes Asia,Yemen is the best of the worst in the Middle East, and Romania takes the medal in Europe. It appears that the global market in commodes is wide open.

photo credit: Getty Images

Reader Comments

Eats Wombats

August 14, 2008 1:03 PM

Enterprising entrepreneurs and toilets:

A blog post about questionable business practice by McGraw Hill. Surely it's about time we got some innovative location sensitive advertising to captive audiences?


August 15, 2008 10:31 AM

The have nots of 2.5 billion people without clean, functioning toilet. Japan far ahead in toilet technology as ETS Electronic Toilet Seat which is a combination of commode/bidet with anema function.
Year 2008 being International Sanitation
Year is time to consolidate efforts of WHO support the developing countries be involved with their resources, will power to provide public toilet based on technologies licensed by Japanese Toto and other Japanese. Let's hope JICA look to this situation for helping the world with healthy toilets which are only made and licnesed by Japanese and devote this year of International Year of Sanitation devoted to our friends in Japan as a thank you Japan, thank you JICA for helping deserving countries with public toilets in hospitals, dorms, streets, waive/subsidise the technology licensing for the ETS toilets in Vietnam, China, Thailand. Developing countries as Pakistan is keenly desirous for local licensing/manufacturing of these toilets for public use with donation from Japanese companies to the honor of the International Year of Sanitation.
My salutation to all who made it happen, for the sick, unwell.

Let's make this world


August 15, 2008 4:49 PM

They don't need toilets in Eritrea, they need to learn to dig and build outhouses. No electricity, no water. Just dig it away from the house so you don't give yourself cholera.

Andre Taylor

August 18, 2008 1:42 PM

This is an example of an opportunity that has long been in front of millions of people. As a native New Yorker, an entrepreneur, a person focused on selling, and a father of young kids I have had to learn where the best restrooms are in my city. Not only are restrooms scarce, but clean restrooms in any retail establishment are also scarce. In this economic environment many are bemoaning the lack of opportunities, downsizing, and high prices -- yet this scenario proves as my new book says, "You Can Still Win!"


November 26, 2008 4:49 AM

How many toilets are made,in a year, world wide?

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