Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Collective bum-wiping: Manchester to Singapore

Something startling occurred to me this morning during the usual work routine. I was writing a story about Manchester Airport, or more specifically, its toilets.

They are officially the best in Britain. At least, according to a slightly ambiguous and misleading Manchester Airport press release. WCs in Terminals 1 and 2 won five-star ratings from the Loo of the Year Awards, which are recognised by the British Toilet Association. Impressive stuff.

But this pales into insignificance when you consider that Manchester Airport's 20 million annual passengers get through 43.93 million metres of bog roll per year.

As the airport light-heartedly points out, if unrolled, this would stretch between Manchester and Singapore four times and Manchester and New York eight times.

A quick sum points to the inescapable fact the average Manchester Airport passenger uses almost 2.2 metres of bog roll during their wait in the terminal - the equivalent of a person standing 7.2 feet tall.

I genuinely don't get it - how is this possible? And isn't there an environmental concern considering paper comes from trees and most used tissue is flushed down the toilet?

An article in the Guardian published earlier this year suggested that the amount of soft toilet tissue used in the US was causing more environmental damage than the country's gas-guzzling vehicles.

And according to charity WWF: "Every day, about 270,000 trees are flushed down the drain or end up as garbage all over the world.

"In fact, every time you use a toilet roll or other tissue products you might be directly contributing to this environmental destruction."

Airports and airlines are taking their fair share of flak from environmental campaigners, and Manchester probably isn't doing itself any favours by jokingly announcing that its passengers bum-wiped a collective total of 44,000km in 2009.

But maybe I'm wrong, and more passengers will be persuaded to fly from Manchester instead of Liverpool or Leeds Bradford, safe in the knowledge that they almost certainly won't combine their Mediterranean-induced tan with a bout of conjunctivitis or hepatitis.

Pic credit:


  1. charlie - you were at the abyssinians on thurs, having seen your photo.....tell me, honestly, were you impressed by the running of that gig, how late the band came on etc? I thought it was a fiasco. And disgraceful

  2. Yeah, was pretty frustrating - work night n'all. Didn't get home 'til half 2. Not a fan of the layout of the venue either, but Satta Massagana made it all worthwhile!