IT is a somewhat inelegant discussion but as the World Cup draws to a close, visitors to Qatar have been raving not so much about the football, but about the loos. And wait till you hear how much loo paper you use in your life…

Excuse me?

Rather indelicate, but it’s true - football fans lapping up the beautiful game in the Middle Eastern country of Qatar have also been loving going to the loo, as much as anyone could one supposes. It may sound bonkers, but David Vujanic, a Croatian-born Serbian YouTuber, comedian and musician, tweeted about the toilets and the subject went viral.


Known as “Vuj”, his initial tweet declared: “Been using the toilet shower thing in Qatar for a month…I am absolutely horrified we only use toilet paper in the UK/Europe. This is the best thing ever man.” He added: “Will be investing when back in London.”

So what’s he talking about?

Anyone new to Qatar may be bemused by the shower head hoses in bathrooms in the country. Known as “shattaf",  it is meant to be used for hygiene. The Qatari Guy, who makes YouTube videos offering insight into the country, has dedicated one of his clips to the subject, having been inundated with queries from first-time visitors as to the reason for the shower heads in bathrooms, explaining: “Its purpose is to clean.”

Back in the West?

Mass produced commercially available toilet paper came into being in the mid-19th century and my goodness, truly hit peak popularity at the height of lockdowns when loo rolls were hoarded and very much regarded as commodities as panic-buyers stripped supermarket shelves bare.

Even during normal times?

It is estimated that worldwide, 42 million tons of toilet paper is used annually, which works out at about 184 million rolls or 22 billion kilometres of toilet paper that if spread out would cover or an area of 2.2 million square kilometres.

That’s a lot of loo roll?

The environmental impact is vast with more than 31 million trees required each year to supply the US with toilet paper alone, while China uses more than four billion miles of it annually - more than any other country. And stretched out, the UK’s annual loo paper usage would reach Mars and back. In Britain, according to global data analysed by online bathroom warehouse QS Supplies LTD - which notes “the environmental toll is massive” - one person uses around 590 miles worth of toilet paper in a lifetime, compared to just three miles - or 56 rolls - used by the average Nigerian over their lifetime. In the UK, each person uses around 127 rolls a year and this requires 5.7 million trees.


Football fans are wishing the west would catch on. One Twitter user told Vuj: “Have lived [in] Middle East/Asia the last 20 years and these things are brilliant.” Another wrote: “Welcome to civilisation”.