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News & views

Students pooh-pooh clean-up posters

A university whose students hail from more than 100 countries, including Mongolia and Kazakhstan, has put up posters around the campus explaining how to poo correctly after toilets were left in a disgusting condition. Swansea University blamed ‘cultural differences’ because students more familiar with squat lavatories (Nile pans) were perching with their feet on the toilet seat and using a bomb-aiming technique, with unpleasant results for other users and cleaning staff.

The posters (below) use photos and graphics to encourage good practice, as well as a direct style of language with plenty of do’s and don’ts, such as ‘Do please sit on the toilet appropriately to avoid mess.’ Commands are often the best tactic for instructions. The university says the posters have greatly improved cleanliness in the toilets, despite a wave of derision from students.

In 2006, Tayside Health Authority’s well-intentioned leaflet ‘Good Defaecation Dynamics’ was derided by the media, its bizarre title assisting. The press was soon bogged down in a pun-fest, with ‘potty’ a favourite and ‘bum note’ not far behind. In 2010, a Rochdale shopping centre installed two Nile pans in addition to the western-style toilets, as some local people felt these enabled them to wash more easily.


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