Graham Askey visited 91 nations in search of the world's worst toilet and claims to have found it in Tajikistan.
Some people travel the world in search of adventure. Others hope to discover new foods or experience foreign cultures. But 58-year-old blogger Graham Askey had a slightly different motivation. He traveled 75,000 miles in search of one thing: the world’s worst toilet.
“After my many travels, I thought I’d seen it all, what with s—tters on stilts, sinks seemingly full of wee, and bathtubs apparently being used as makeshift bogs,” Askey said, according to the Daily Mail.
But after spending £150,000 (around $165,000) and visiting 91 countries on six continents, Askey believes that he found the world’s worst toilet in an isolated corner of Tajikistan.
“[H]aving enjoyed some of the filthiest bathroom facilities to be found anywhere on the planet, the toilet in Tajikistan has to be the worst in the world — it is the perfect hell hole,” Askey said.
As the New York Post reports, the “world’s worst toilet” in Ayni, Tajikistan, is located in a five-foot wooden stall surrounded by “sun-dried poo” and is infested with rats and venomous snakes. It earned its dubious honor, however, from the fact that people have used the flimsy privacy fabric that surrounds it as toilet paper.
“With no toilet paper available, the builders have conveniently built it with a fabric covering to offer wiping functionality,” Askey said, according to the Daily Mail, “and it looks like the locals have made full use of it!”
The toilet in Tajikistan is just one of many restrooms that Askey documented on his “Inside Other Places” blog for the satirical Toilet & Urinal Restoration & Design Society (TURDS). The blogger, whose friends call him the “king of porcelain,” was inspired to travel the world and document disgusting toilets after experiencing an especially filthy lavatory in Morocco.
“Make no mistake that every entry on my list is gross beyond words,” Askey said. “Some may look OK but believe me — and I know — they’re the most inhospitable places on earth, and to spend a single minute inside any of them would be unthinkable except in the direst of circumstances.”
He added: “Each and every one of them would appear to attract members of the public who have yet to master the basic art of aiming.”
Some of the toilets that Askey found include a chair in Benin with a toilet lid over a bucket, a sink in Bangladesh, and a bathtub in China filled with “liters of number ones and twos.” One of the most harrowing toilets that Askey came across, however, was in Indonesia. Perched on stilts 10 feet above the ground, its users had to navigate planks of wood to reach the bathroom.
That toilet, Askey noted, was also the “least privacy-conscious lavatory,” since it was located in the middle of a village.
Askey photographed only the outside of the lavatories because they are so, in his words, “vomit-inducing,” and admitted that he spent the “absolute minimum amount of time” near them because they were so gross. Yet people liked the photos that the blogger posted so much that he decided to compile the top 36 into a book, Toilets of the Wild Frontier.
But Askey hopes his new book will do more than shock those who flip through it.
“While readers will undoubtedly find these woeful public toilets hilarious, it must be understood that they represent a significant and largely unnecessary health risk, which can be reduced substantially by supporting charities like ActionAid and World Toilet Day,” Askey said.
Indeed, as Deutsche Welle reports, 2.6 billion people around the world live without a reliable toilet. This can cause the proliferation of deadly diseases like cholera.
As such, Graham Askey’s hunt for the “world’s worst toilet” is certainly shocking and even amusing. But his book also hopes to bring attention to a very real public health issue faced by millions.
After reading about one man’s search for the world’s worst toilet, discover the surprisingly complicated answer to the question of who invented the toilet. Or, delve into the messy history of toilets during the Middle Ages.