Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Please Don’t Eat The Daisies And Please Don’t Stand On The Toilets

Sometimes, a news story can slip through the cracks and go largely unnoticed. Such was the case with this story that came out two weeks ago. I wanted to share it with those who may have missed it.

In several national parks, a rash of broken toilet seats and other unclean habits confounded the park authorities. However, it turns out that it wasn’t deliberate vandalism but a culture clash centered around waste elimination.

Specifically, Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks suffered the most damage, which was caused by Chinese tourists visiting the popular parks. According to the National Park Service (NPS), Yellowstone National Park is a top tourist destination, attracting an estimated 3-4 million visitors annually. The damage to the toilet seats in Grand Teton National Park was noticed after an influx of mostly Chinese visitors began arriving by busloads in 2015. At least 12 of the 42 toilet seats were broken, and used toilet paper was often left on the restroom floors instead of being properly disposed of. According to the Cowboy State Daily, this happened because some guests did not know how to use Western toilets properly.

The Daily reported that park authorities took some time to determine the reason for the restrooms’ terrible condition and apparent disrespect. However, the outlet claims they eventually found shoe prints on the toilet seats. It was then that the mystery began to be explained.

In Hong Kong and China, many do their business by squatting rather than sitting. Tourists from those regions would literally stand on the seats and squat over the toilet bowl rather than sit on it, which explained the footprints on the seats and how they were broken.

Squat toilets are prevalent in China due to their lower construction and maintenance costs compared to seated toilets. They are also considered more hygienic as they minimize contact with the pan.

Other reasons people around the globe use squat toilets are:

Hygienic: Squat toilets minimize bodily contact with the pan.

Easy to clean: Some people consider squat toilets easier to clean.

Gravity helps: Gravity helps the process when you squat instead of sitting on a toilet.

Widen the anorectal angle: Squatting widens the anorectal angle, which allows stools to pass through the anal canal more clearly and straighter.

As for why the toilet paper was thrown on the floor and not in the toilet, it turns out that in those regions, toilet paper is thrown into a wastebasket, not into the toilet. This prevents the plumbing from getting clogged. In fact, most public restrooms don’t provide toilet paper, soap, hand towels, or warm water. 

As the Chinese Communist Party restricts access to information about America, tourists aren’t aware of what they don’t know. Apparently, even something as rudimentary as a sit-down, flush-style commode.

Yet they are proficient at hacking American computers. I guess that form of downloading isn’t a problem.