Zimbabwe Battles a Backed-Up Sewer With Synchronized Toilet Flushing
The Ridiculous Problem:
Please, take a moment out of your day and thank your toilet. Modern sanitation is one of those things we absolutely take for granted in the First World, despite the fact that billions live with sewer systems that are unreliable at best. Take Zimbabwe, one of the poorer countries in Africa. Their second largest city, Bulawayo, saw their sewage system back up due to a water-rationing system caused by a drought. There simply wasn't enough water left in Bulawayo's pipe system to carry away all the dumps the million-strong city was taking daily.
"We're about to be in deep shit. Like, for real, though. That's not a pun."
You can imagine the problems this causes. Dry pipes tend to contribute a liberal amount of ghost stench from the logs of yesteryear to the atmosphere. So apart from the whole "not enough water" situation, Bulawayo was now stinking to high heaven and subjecting its residents to a whole host of interesting feces-related health hazards.
What's a city to do?
Create a tidal wave with their toilets, that's what.
Faced with a seemingly impossible situation, Bulawayo's city officials decided to do something that would appear to be straight out of a cartoon: They calmly ordered everyone in the city to start flushing their toilets at the exact same time, at three-day intervals.
You'll need to imagine some inspirational music swelling while the community flushes to save the town.
The reasoning behind this strange move reads like a shit-based metaphor for social media: Although the sad trickle of water from an individual drought-toilet couldn't possibly budge the literal wall of shit that's clogging the sewers, thousands and thousands of simultaneous flushes should be able to create a massive sewage tsunami that allows the poop to ride away with the wave like the world's most horrible surfer. Synchronized flushing's other benefits included putting a stop to both the stench and future blockages by getting the pipes wet and keeping them well-lubricated with regular, periodic moistness.