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Monday, 19 November, 2001, 08:20 GMT
Singapore hosts toilet summit
Performer mimes being surrounded by fumes
A mime artist helped launch the summit
By Clive Myrie in Singapore

As the rest of the world wrestles with international terrorism, Singapore is hosting the first World Toilet Summit.

It may sound ridiculous, but for the delegates who have travelled here from all over the world this is a very important issue.

The (Singapore) Government has said clean public toilets are the hallmark of a gracious society

China, for example, keen to dispel its unsavoury image among tourists of having poor rest-room facilities, is sending 20 delegates.

The Chinese do not want the 2008 Olympics to be remembered more for events away from the sporting field.

In all, about 200 representatives from 15 countries as far afield as Finland, Britain, the US and across Asia will take part in three days of seminars focusing on latest rest-room designs, ventilation and sanitation.

Conservation will also be an important topic - how best to provide a good service in parts of the world where water might be scarce.

Squeaky clean state

Singapore is the perfect host for such a conference. A city state known the world over for being squeaky clean, the authorities regularly fine people here who don't flush public loos.

The government has said clean public toilets are the hallmark of a gracious society.

Summit organisers hope the event -which ends on Wednesday - will take place every two years and will lead to the formation of the World Toilet Organisation.

See also:

03 Oct 01 | Wales
Renovation unmasks historic loo
03 Oct 01 | England
New museum in full flush
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