Jun 07, 2012|
HK Magazine: What does the Toilet Association do?
Lo Wing-lok: It was founded in 2005 by a group of professionals in various fields, such as engineering, design and health. We share a burning concern for toilets after attending an international conference organized by the World Toilet Organization. Our goal is to promote a comfortable and healthy toilet environment.
HK: What is so special about toilets?
LW: During the SARS epidemic, I looked into how it spread so quickly. The discovery that SARS spread through toilets in Amoy Gardens demonstrated that bad toilet hygiene can be fatal. When I was asked to join the Toilet Association, I agreed without hesitation.
HK: How do people react when they learn about the
LW: They laugh really hard. And I laugh with them, too! But toilets are very important to us. So I explain and convince people that [toilets] are in fact a serious matter.
HK: What are the criteria for a good toilet?
LW: We assess the quality of a toilet by [using the acronym] “CASH.” It refers to comfort, accessibility, safety and hygiene. Accessibility and hygiene are the most important and there are quite a lot of things to look into in each category. The flushing system is crucial to hygiene. A foot pedal helps minimize contact with germs, but a safety problem lingers—people like the elderly have trouble standing on one foot and can injure themselves.
HK: The association rated Hong Kong’s best and worst toilets. Can you tell us more about that?
LW: We held a city-wide review of toilets to find both the best toilets and those that need urgent improvement. Right after the results were published, the government tried to resolve the problems within a short time. The Repulse Bay beach public toilet was ranked the best by the public.
HK: Which toilets would you recommend?
LW: The Lantau Link Viewing Platform’s public toilet is beautiful, with a great choice of materials. It is truly a five-star toilet. There is a nice dressing area for girls, [there are] plants, and relaxing music plays in the background. The ventilation is also excellent, so it smells nice and germs are not trapped inside. The Fong Ma Po public toilet in the “Wishing Tree” neighborhood is designed like a local villa and integrates perfectly [with the environment]. The placement of washing basins outside the bathroom is also more sanitary.
HK: Do men and women use toilets differently?
LW: Men are statistically proven to be less sanitary. Our early study reveals that 2 percent of men do not wash their hands, while less than 0.5 percent of women have this habit.
HK: What are the hot issues in the toilet world now?
LW: Everyone has a toilet horror story from China. Mine was from Hubei province. I was walking into the toilet and saw a man stepping backwards while peeing. First, he was standing very close to the urinal. Gradually, he kept walking to the exit—while still peeing. I saw lines of pee stains across the toilet floor. The design of the urinal was so bad that urine just kept splashing out.