I was looking for inspiration for this weeks column when I met somebody who said to me Vancouver has a band called “Doorknobs”. Interesting I thought and I asked what kind of music do they play, I like the name… “No, Vancouver has banned door knobs!”. Well that was a little different. Something had just come over the newswire apparently and Vancouver is banning door knobs.
Our first thought was, how do you open the door? No door knob, no open. We summised it must be some kind of governmental control measure to prevent the spread of infectious diseases like the common cold. Why else would you ban door knobs?
As it turns out, this was in fact, not the correct assumption. Somebody in some office somewhere in the world has actually studied door knobs quite a lot. So much so that they have recommended they be banned. Vancouver as it happens has the ability to do just that by controlling it’s own building bylaws whereas most municipalities are not in the same position. Vancouver it turns out is the first community to create this rather strange bylaw that will prevent any buildings built in the City from having door knobs. Not just their own buildings either, everybody’s homes. In my mind I was still thinking that the door must swing in both directions and have kick plates at the bottom and I wondered if the savings for not having a door knob were enough to offset the cost of triage for all the broken noses that will be walking into medical clinics.
Silly me. It turns out that levers are in, and knobs are out.
It wouldn’t all be so ridiculous if it wasn’t for the fact that on November 19th, it was World Toilet Day (I had no idea about that either).
I think very few people knew anything about World Toilet Day, me included. The sad thing is that it is incredibly important that we all know about World Toilet Day since 2.5 Billion people in the world do not have access to adequate sanitation. Every 20 seconds a child dies because of water borne diseases. In reality, very little money was probably spent on World Water Day.
By contrast, somebody somewhere has decided that as we age or if we are physically challenged, we cannot get into the loo because we cannot grip the handle, or at least we are not going to be able to. It makes me wonder how my great grandparents ever managed without levers! The money spent on researching, discussing and eventually implementing a bylaw to ban door knobs to your loo seems incredibly out of proportion to the time that should be invested in discussing sanitation solutions for almost 1/3 of the planet!
If you want to find out more about World Toilet Day, take a look here: http://worldtoiletday.org/
If you want to donate to a charity that is working hard to fix the problem, look here: http://www.rally4life.org