Page last updated at 12:26 GMT, Wednesday, 27 July 2005 13:26 UK

Loo summit to be flushed with success

Experts representing the global toilet industry are gathering in Northern Ireland to discuss how to make the humble loo a flushing success.

They are sitting down to plan a world toilet summit to be held in Belfast's Waterfront Hall in September.

Toilets in Ballymena get the thumbs up

The conference will be devoted to the issue of lavatory standards outside the home, in countries around the world.

It is organised by the Singapore-based World Toilet Organisation which aims to buff up the public bathroom.

Richard Chisnell of the British Toilet Association, said: "For too long our toileting needs have been let down by poor provision and poor maintenance and cleaning.

"People don't like using public toilets anymore. Sometimes they go in the street and it's not very healthy."

Mr Chisnell said there were "far too many" poor public toilet facilities, including those in pubs and restaurants.

"Toilets are the barometers of any establishment. People don't like going back to places where the facilities are not up to standard," he said.

But where is tops for toilets in Northern Ireland?

Public toilet sign
Not all public toilets are deemed acceptable

"Ballymena do very well as a toilet provider," he said. "The Bushmills Whiskey Distillery Centre won our individual trophy last year."

The four-day summit in Belfast, which runs from 26 to 29 September, has already attracted delegates from 15 countries including, China, Taiwan, Africa, India, Nepal, Chile.

Those attending come from such sectors as public health and educational authorities, hospitality and tourism organisations as well as toilet providers.

Jack Sim, Founder of the World Toilet Organisation, said: "With the funding support we are receiving from The International Fund for Ireland, the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, Belfast Visitor and Convention Bureau and Belfast City Council, we are very confident that this global event will be truly memorable for all who attend."

The summit will also be used to introduce a comprehensive toilet provision and management training package, with certificated accreditation provided by the British Institute of Cleaning Science.

An exhibition will take place alongside the conference in St George's Market and there will be a dinner to mark the annual Loo of the Year award.

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