While every culture has different habits and expectations for their bathrooms, we all need a healthy and clean way to get rid of our waste (that’s pee and poop). While outhouses can work in the countryside, in the city they become a problem.
In the ger district in Ulaanbaatar, where gers and houses are built close together and are often not connected to the city sewage system, traditional pit toilets can cause disease. Throughout the world, if you are living in a city or town and do not have a good way of getting rid of human waste, people will get sick.
The government of Mongolia and many organizations have been working for a long time to improve waste disposal in Ulaanbaatar’s ger district. No matter what your culture is, you are always going to want to keep yourself and your family healthy!
One organization that works on this is the World Bank. Their list of things they think about when helping to build better bathrooms shows how important it is to think about culture and money and geography and technology all at once.
To translate into plain English, you need to think about:
- Whether your bathroom plan fits people’s culture
- Whether there is enough water to use
- Where is the underground water? Will it become polluted by the toilet?
- Does it cost too much?
- Can we make it better later?
- Can we get the materials?
- Are there people in the area who can build it?
This series of pictures of toilets in different parts of the world from National Geographic also tells the story of how dangerous it is when you cannot build safe toilets that keep pee and poop away from people and their water.