Toilet Rocks

Paper is a luxury in Afghanistan in part because there are so few trees. So instead of paper in the bathrooms, Afghans use rocks. Out in the villages and farms, the rocks just go right down the hole after business is completed. With a tip of the hat to environmentalism, they sometimes recycle the rocks by just leaving them on the floor near the toilet.

The Americans (me and you, the taxpayer) built a facility in northern Afghanistan with indoor plumbing, eastern-style toilets, and all the fixtures. Within the past year, we discovered the building had been destroyed by the foundation settling and splitting the building in half. A little research revealed that the Afghans had been putting their rocks down the toilets. When the toilets backed-up, they used rebar (reinforcing steel rods) as plungers to clear the rocks out. This broke the pipes which allowed the effluent to erode the subgrade foundation and sink the building!

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