GENEVA, Switzerland, April 8 (UPI) -- A French physician says his design for foldaway toilet is biodegradable, lightweight and would be useful following natural disasters.
Dr. Laurent Helewa said he had the idea after Hurricane Katrina, Radio France Internationale reported Thursday.
He said he believes the invention might be useful in other disasters, such as the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan, or anywhere thousands of displaced people are crowded into emergency accommodations with inadequate, if any, toilet facilities.
"The first problem is to have access to a toilet. Because if not, people will do their business wherever, and you end up with epidemics such as cholera," Helewa told RFI.
The unit weighs about 4 pounds and is constructed of cardboard that can be quickly folded into a boxed seat.
It comes with plastic bags, each containing an absorbent pad to soak up liquids.
Helewa displayed his invention at this week's International Exhibition of Inventions in Geneva.