Clean loo campaigner dies

A South Korean who built a toilet-shaped home to publicise his drive to improve worldwide sanitation died on Wednesday aged 69, officials of his organisation said.

Sim Jae-Duck was pronounced dead in a Seoul hospital after being moved from what is billed as the world's only toilet house in his native city of Suweon south of the capital.

"He had been suffering from prostate cancer since he began a campaign to launch his World Toilet Association in 2007," association spokesperson Shon Seong-Jin said.

"But he continued his campaign until his death."

Sim was born in a restroom - in line with then-traditional beliefs that this would bring good luck - and once said he planned to die in the $1,6-million toilet house he designed.

The 419-square-metre concrete and glass structure was named Haewoojae meaning "a place of sanctuary where one can solve one's worries."

Sim's campaign began during his term as Suweon mayor from 1995 to 2002.

His efforts to transform toilets into "clean and beautiful resting places imbued with culture" earned him the nickname "Mayor Toilet".

His achievements prompted Sim to launch the Korea Toilet Association in 1999, in time for South Korea's co-hosting with Japan of the football World Cup three years later.

Then he decided to take his drive worldwide, with the WTA campaigning to improve sanitation and save lives in several countries. - Sapa-AFP

sign up