Squat toilets to be scrapped in a bid to end knee-arthritis, boost tourism

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BANGKOK, 19 March 2013  The government has planned to launch a campaign to discourage squat toilets, in a pledge to end knee-related arthritis and boost tourism.

The Public Health Ministry has planned to discourage the use of squat toilets and to replace them with sit-down ones, in a country where over six million people are suffering from knee-related arthritis.

Deputy Public Health Minister Cholanan Srikaew said that squat toilets are a major contributor to osteoarthritis in the knee.

Osteoarthritis is a form of arthritis, typically found in people of age over 40. It results from heavy usage of joints over the years, and can cause joint pain. Those with osteoarthritis to the knee may have a difficulty walking up stairs, straighten their legs, or walk at all.

About 85 per cent of the country’s toilets are squat toilets, most of which are in the countryside, according to the ministry.

The ministry also hopes that the campaign will also make it easier for tourists to conduct their personal business in Thailand’s countryside. Tourism accounts for about 7 per cent of Thailand’s GDP.