Going down the toilet?

Museum piece

Shocking. According to this Eurostat report released yesterday, 42 per cent of homes in Romania do not have indoor plumbing: either flushing toilets or a bath/shower.

First off: are Eurostat’s figures correct?

Though the fact that grinding poverty persists in much of the Romanian countryside should come as a surprise to no one, this is an astonishingly high percentage of homes making do without basic sanitation. (The figure, by the way, is for 2009: it is to be hoped that things have improved since then).

Mains water and sewerage are basic human rights. An indoor, flushing toilet should not be a luxury. Dealing with this problem should be a Romanian national priority.

Maybe the government is already on the case? If anyone can tell us of nationwide initiatives to bring water to every home in the country we would be grateful.

Meantime, read more on the importance of flushing toilets – and a film about the subject – here.

  • Rosemary Moore

    To be honest, even my Grandmother did not have an indoor toilet when she was a child – their toilet was in a shed at the bottom of the garden! And that was within the UK approx 100 years ago…..

    • Roger

      Outside toilets were in use and ‘some’ still are, a lot more recent than 100 years ago, in the UK.

      Us Northerners are made of strong stuff 🙂

      • Mr Rearguard

        I’ve got 4 indoor toilets at my place but when I’m pissed up (most late afternoons) I always take a leak outside in the fresh country air!

    • Yes but we’ve moved on since then.

      • Roger

        Yes, we have moved on, but if some are still happy to use and outside toilet, so be it, they’re doing no harm!

        • Giuseppe

          Wouldn’t it be more accurate to say you moved IN? 😛

          • Roger


            I’ve been known to use the sink, when pissed!

            • Giuseppe

              Yeah, you don’t have to worry about aiming at the toilet bowl 😀

            • Mr Rearguard

              Mind you don’t piss over your wife’s toothbrush! Once late at night, my wife caught me drunk, standing, swaying half asleep pissing in the kitchen sink. She turned the tap on and went to bed leaving me there, cock in hand at the sink with the tap running. It wasn’t untill 6 am I realised what was going on…

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  • Ioana

    “Design for the other 90%” – proves that there is something it can be done to improve the life of those who live in severe conditions.
    For instance, I think Q DRUM is a great idea and I imagine it at work in many villages where you have to go to the fountain for every 10 l of water you need.
    I don’t think that such solutions will solve the real problems; but might bring a short-term relief; at least for those who are old or vulnerable; for them it will make a difference in their daily struggle.

    Who cares to encourage such initiatives here? Do you know anyone?

    • At best short-term relief. Rolling water is hardly much different from carrying it…

      • anon

        Design for the other 90% shouldn’t have to be an option for Romania…It’s an EU country for fuck sake, several billion of EU development funds are sitting in a bank account doing nothing because the paperwork hasn’t been filled in. It’s a joke.

        • Design for the other 90% should not be an option for the other 90%!!! We demand the best, why shouldn’t the rest of the world?

          • anon

            where else would we get our low cost labour?
            Slavery? nah too expensive compared to keeping the slaves, I mean workers in their native countries (remember they are called workers, and are independent and free!!!)
            Can’t have them getting too uppity now. Bit of dirty water never hurt anyone. They call it character building where I’m from.


            • Ioana

              Anon, where are you from?
              There are areas in Romania, where bringing utilities won’t be so simple: villages from Danube Delta or villages from the mountains (where the houses are spread, located on abrupt slopes and where neighbors are very far from each other). This is just part of what I named “severe conditions”; or maybe I should have said “atypical” living conditions (which will require atypical solutions). As long as these areas will be populated, RO will look shock by all the statistics.

              • Don’t get me started on the Delta! One of the poorest areas of the country and yet people want to ‘save’ it! They say it is paradise. Not for the people who live there it isn’t. A separate post is coming on this subject soon, by the way.

                • Ioana

                  Ok, thanks, your next post is exactly what I was trying to target, only that I’m clumsy and my English doesn’t help me much.

                  • anon

                    In agreement with craig, and yourself…conditions like those in the delta are not good enough. I just don’t think that products targeted at third world countries are the solution. No one in the EU (or anywhere for that matter), should be forced to make a daily trip to fetch water, or be without good sewerage/septic tanks for Christ sake.

  • Haven’t you heard? There’s an economic crisis on and everybody has to tighten their belts. Frivolities like running water and sewage systems will have to wait.

    (I’m actually serious with that – we are renovating a house in a village not far from Szereda and the mains water and sewage system were due to be installed in the village last year. However the new austerity measures have put paid to that, and the project is indefinitely on hold)

    • anon

      The sad thing is that there is Billions of EU funds that are currently sitting around doing nothing, because the the steps necessary to release the funds, have not been carried out.

    • Andy H

      Since this post seems to have resurfaced, just thought I should update here. Nearly 3 years since I wrote that above…still no water and sewage. I mean we live in the house and we have a well and pump and cesspit and so on, so it’s no problem, but it is apparently no nearer in arriving (and we’re fairly close to a major road, only 15 kms from the County Town, and in a fairly well populated valley.

      I’ve given up waiting for it, to be honest, just like pretty much everything else in Romania. If it’s not a church basically it’s not going to get built

  • Parmalat


    But what’s the problem, why don’t you drive it as registered in the UK? In the same way Romanians register their cars in Bulgaria in order to skip taxes and drive them over here.

    I believe the only thing you would need to do is go back to the UK with the car on a yearly basis to complete the MOT and renew your insurance package. Which may well be worth it, considering some taxes charged here in Romania.

    The process of registering a car is quite complicated, even by Romanian standards, but I can tell you without the risk of mistaking that is starts from here: http://www.drpciv.ro Directia Regim Permise de Conducere si Inmatriculare a Vehiculelor located on Soseaua Pipera nr. 49

    However, their English version of the website is useless so if you want to do it yourself then you have to be prepared to take a first trip to their premises in order to obtain proper information.

    And also you will have to be prepared for the process to take several days and a lot of pain in the ass, registering a vehicle is Romanian bureaucracy at its purest.

    As a foreigner I would go for a lawyer, they know all this sh*t with papers and visits; 120 – 140 Euro would be a fair charge for the entire process, and be prepared to make a trip to Registrul Auto Roman (where they scan the CO2 emissions of your car) and then on the basis of that scan they will determine the value of the First Registration tax, which you can pay yourself or give it in cash to your lawyer so as to finish the entire process.

    I can recommend you to my favorite lawyer if you decide to go for this option, he’s a nice guy, knows well what he’s doing and he doesn’t charge high tariffs.

    • anon

      Thanks for your advice Parmalat, I’ve been down to the DRPCIV and was mobbed by people in the carpark wanting to ‘help’ me. It all seemed a bit iffy.

      The problem with keeping the car registered in the UK is Insurance. Most companies only provide you with 90 Day EU cover (not to mention they fuck you in the ass with their costs, I was paying £1400 to insure my car). Driving back to the UK every year for an MOT is another pain in the ass I could do without.
      If it were possible to get insurance without the registration then that would be awesome and solve a lot of problems, but meh, maybe Bulgaria will be my best option.
      I think you’re right and that a lawyer would be the better option, if your dude is reliable and speaks English then I would appreciate his details.
      Thank you!

      • Parmalat

        This is my lawyer, Marius Vicentiu Coltuc http://www.coltuc.ro . We have went through several trials together since 4 years ago when I met him and now my father is represented by Coltuc & Associates in a trial versus the Romanian state.

        You can call him, or e-mail him directly (please mention that you were recommended by Andrei Taga, mr. Marius Coltuc knows me) or I can call and ask him myself on your behalf.

        The contact details are the same as they appear in the contact section of his website, and on the 0745 mobile phone number he will answer in person. He is like 37 y.o. , Aries sign according to horoscope and a very professional type, exactly as you would find in the west; while on the other hand his tariffs are decent.

        • anon

          Thank you Parmalat, I’ll shoot him an E-mail on Monday.

          • Anon

            I’m sure Coltuc himself is very professional, but I can’t say the same about some of the people he employs.

    • Parmalat

      Hello, Craig, are you there…? I’m trying to post an answer for anon and it doesn’t appear on the website, maybe it went in the spam folder and needs to be moderated. Please check when you have the time. Thanks

      • Should be fine now… Apologies. Not sure which word triggered the Sp*m filter off…

    • Mr Rearguard

      I believe the only thing you would need to do is go back to the UK with the car on a yearly basis to complete the MOT and renew your insurance package

      That’s the problem, I don’t want to waste 7 days of my life doing that!

      • Parmalat

        And I thinking was to start a business – importing used rhd cars from the UK so as to avoid first registration tax over here and also take advantage of the lower price.

        But you’re right, it can only be profitable for 5 litres engine at least, there’s no point in doing that with lower capacity engines.

        There has to be a decent solution for first registration tax on this continent…

        • anon

          Did Cars bought in Romania from before 2007 have to pay a first registration/polution tax? If not then I don’t see why the EU have not stamped on what is obviously a protectionist policy. It’s an exercise in frustration as if you look at the second hand car market in Romania, the prices are vastly overinflated compared to elsewhere in the EU.

          • anon

            *sigh* I just found out that the communists, eer I mean cunts, sorry I mean politicians in power have just doubled the pollution tax starting from the end of Jan 2011, with a higher rate pushed on cars being registered in the country for the first time that are over 10 years old.
            I don’t know why the EU allow them to blatantly flaunt EU free trade rules.

            • Parmalat

              Exactly, there have been talks in the European Commission about the tax as being protectionist, however the governments have managed to avoid an infringement procedure (not sure how…).

              And before 2007 there was another rule if I remember well, as you were not allowed to register any car which was not compliant with at least Euro 3 pollution norms.

              There has been too much protectionism and bureaucracy adopted since 2000 and until today.

              Can you imagine that somewhere around 2003 the Nastase government issued a law stating that no company would be allowed to issue invoices unless they bought the printed forms from the National Printery (Imprimeria Nationala)? And companies would place orders with some agents almost 2 weeks in advance and once the printed forms were finished, they would collect them and only then they were be able to issue invoices. Doing otherwise was considered tax evasion.

              And this ruling remained into force until late 2007, as I registered a company at the end of 2005 and I remember well how I only issued officially printed invoices throughout the entire 2006 and part of 2007.

              We’re not far away from the stone age if we look back a little…

              • anon

                Well I’ve just drafted a long letter to the EU Ombudsman regarding this issue. It will be interesting to see what they say. It’s a shame that one cannot take advantage of the Cheaper second hand car market in the rest of Europe, and it’s a shame that Romania sees itself as part of the EU, only when its suites her.
                It’s no wonder that Romania was denied Schengen accession with it’s current attitude.

                That forms thing is retarded.

  • Parmalat

    Indoor plumbing throughout the entire country is an objective as reachable for the Romanian government as is a 2009 Bentley Azure for myself: maybe in another life.

    There are still areas of Bucharest with no sewage at all, and we’re talking about the entire country?! No way, mister… this ain’t gonna hapen in our lifetime. We can’t build a bridge properly, let alone place sewage in 42% of the homes in Romania.

    Ceausescu is dead; we can dream about sewage, irrigation, Dunare – Marea Neagra Channel etc… but nowadays it’s in vane. Only now we can see how much Ceausescu meant for this country. He was the only man in the history of Romania who would order the completion of infrastructural projects of country-wide magnitude.

    U.S. and E.U. … I challenge you to compete with Ceausescu in developing Romania.

    • bear

      Ahhhh, but at what cost? How many people lost their lives needlessly to complete ‘Amazing Ceausescu’ projects?

  • anon

    What do they do? shit in a hole?

    • Basically, yes.

      • anon

        nothing like that Glastonbury feeling all year round huh?

        And Craig, sorry for the derail, but I can’t find an E-mail address to use…Do you know of any reliable agents/shady guys, who would be able to assist with registration of a car from the UK without dicking me around or trying to take me for every penny I’ve got? I know of Moorcroft already, and would rather avoid him. Alternatively any way to get valid insurance without having to do the registration faff would also be awesome.
        Ta in advance.

        • Mr Rearguard

          And Craig, sorry for the derail, but I can’t find an E-mail address to use…Do you know of any reliable agents/shady guys, who would be able to assist with registration of a car from the UK without dicking me around or trying to take me for every penny I’ve got? I know of Moorcroft already, and would rather avoid him. Alternatively any way to get valid insurance without having to do the registration faff would also be awesome.
          Ta in advance.

          I looked into bringing a Britsh motor over here this week and was told by some Romanian dude that it is simply not possible to have a Brit car registered over here because they don’t like right hand drives? He could have been mistaken (hope so) though? I would like to know if you have any genuine luck.
          ps. What’s wrong with Moorcroft, don’t you like being fleeced by an Expat?

          • anon

            That’s BS fortunatly; Poland tried banning RHD cars and have been slapped around by the EU for it

            As long as it’s an EU type approved car it should be allowed free movement within the EU.

            As for Moorcroft? well let’s just say I’ve seen how he handled someone else, and I don’t trust him as far as I could throw him.

            • anon

              Oh the only thing you would have to get done to your car would be to make sure the headlights are either self leveling or switched to suit LHD countries, and switch over the fog light to the other side.

    • bear

      They use the outdoor privy! My relatives in Arkansas had a two seater.

  • Fraser

    No way is that bog in the pic in Romania

  • The lack of basic sanitation is an aeons long problem among the ethnic Romanians, who last had proper sanitation probably during the times of the Roman Empire more than 1800 years ago. It is just hopped that the European Union would have the same role now, two millennia after 🙂
    I am not really surprised about that, the precarious sanitation in terms of washing and latrine facilities is not unusual among the aboriginal population-ancient inhabitants of a region. The Irish also had quite a bad press in that regard, and quite rightly so, from the English colonisers, even after independence. I was always amused by the well documented facts that the Romanian population in Transylvania went through a demographic explosion, well outnumbering the local Hungarians and Germans only after the Austrian Imperial authorities, beginning with the c18th, enforced on them the building and use of proper latrines and washing facilities, thus considerably improving the lifespan and immensely diminishing the until then catastrophic child mortality among the Romanian population. It looks that the Habsburgs are still having a lot of work to do even nowadays! 🙂

  • Geronimo

    But wouldn’t plumbing, sanitation and toilets make Romania less fascinating and magical for foreign tourists?