It was one of those normal business trips to London. The departure flight had been delayed and I was sorting some old Nepal pictures on my Nikon. “You are doing tough photos” I heard it unexpectedly behind my shoulder and instinctively I turned around. The businessman sitting next to me laughed and immediately introduced himself as Jack Sim, founder of the “World Toilet Organization”. Irritated but amused, I spontaneously thought “…what a stupid name” and I tried diplomatically to retreat. But for whatever reason, an interesting discussion now followed about sanitary conditions and toilets around the world with the central message of breaking the silence and shame of people on the life-essential issue of toilet hygiene.

The idea to photograph toilets around the world came weeks after this conversation. Although the motive is not always so photogenic and every time you have the feeling to be discovered as a Peeping Tom, the idea behind it is very big: the realization about the finiteness of the most important resource in the world, …water… is merciless. Every day, 35 liters of drinking water per person rush through the toilet flush in our country, while the same amount of water is needed to survive in other regions of the world. The lack of understanding for this situation is incomprehensible and, in my opinion, incredibly arrogant and unacceptable.

Founded in 2001, the organization has meanwhile obtained consultative status at the United Nations Economic and Social Council and enforced an annual UN World Toilet Day on November 19. Through its various initiatives, the WTO provides an international platform for associations, governments, institutions and companies to share knowledge and leverage media and corporate support for sustainable sanitation and health policies.