A toilet is a sanitation fixture used primarily for the disposal of human excrement, often found in a small room referred to as a toilet/bathroom/lavatory. Flush toilets, which are common in many parts of the world, may be connected to a nearby septic tank or more commonly in urban areas via a sewerage system to a more distant sewage treatment plant; chemical toilets are used in mobile and many temporary situations where there is no access to sewerage, dry toilets, including pit toilets and composting toilet require no or little water with excreta being removed manually or composted in situ. The word toilet may also be used, especially in British English to describe the room containing the fixture for which euphemisms such as restroom or bathroom are used in American English. Prior to the introduction of modern flush toilets, most human waste disposal took place outdoors in outhouses or latrines. Pail closets were introduced in England and France in an attempt to reduce disease in rapidly expanding cities.
Ancient civilisations used toilets attached to simple flowing water sewage systems included those of the Indus Valley Civilization, e.g., Harappa and Mohenjo-daro which are located in present day India and Pakistan and also the Romans and Egyptians. Although a precursor to the modern flush toilet system was designed in 1596 by John Harington, such systems did not come into widespread use until the late nineteenth century. Thomas Crapper was one of the early maker of toilets in England.
Diseases, including cholera which affects some 3 million people each year, can be largely prevented when effective sanitation prevents fecal matter contaminating waterways, groundwater and drinking water supplies. There have been five main cholera outbreaks and pandemics since 1825, during one of which 10,000 people died in London alone. The physician John Snow proved that deaths were being caused by people drinking water from a source that had been contaminated by a nearby cesspit; the London sewer system of the time had not reached crowded Soho and many houses had cellars (basements) with overflowing cesspools underneath their floorboards.
According to The Global Water Supply and Sanitation Assessment 2000 by the World Health Organization, 40% of the global population does not have access to ‘excreta disposal facilities’, mostly in Asia and Africa. There are efforts being made to design simple effective squat toilets for these people. Usually, they are made by digging a hole, then installing a premade plastic squat toilet seat atop this hole, covering the walls with canvas.