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Toilets can be with or without flushing water (flush toilet or dry toilet).

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Sewer gas escapes through a vent pipe attached to the sewer line.Some modern toilets pressurize the water in the tank, which initiates flushing action with less water usage. This type of toilet is common in many Asian countries.The toilet can be connected to one or two pits, in which case it is called a "pour flush pit latrine" or a "twin pit pour flush pit latrine". Flush toilets, when used on ships, are typically flushed with seawater.This is part of the sanitation crisis which international initiatives such as World Toilet Day draw attention to.A typical flush toilet is a ceramic bowl (pan) connected on the "up" side to a cistern (tank) that enables rapid filling with water, and on the "down" side to a drain pipe that removes the effluent.Portable toilets or chemical toilets may be brought in for large but temporary gatherings.

Many poor households in developing countries use very basic, and often unhygienic toilets, for example simple pit latrines and bucket toilets which are usually placed in outhouses.

is a piece of hardware used for the collection or disposal of human urine and feces.

In other words: "Toilets are sanitation facilities at the user interface that allow the safe and convenient urination and defecation".

Globally, nearly one billion people even have no access to a toilet at all, and are forced to do open defecation (particularly in India).

Diseases transmitted via the fecal-oral route or via water, such as cholera and diarrhea can be spread by open defecation.

The amount of water used by conventional flush toilets usually makes up a significant portion of personal daily water usage.