Thursday, 22 February 2018

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Where does our poo go?

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If there’s one thing that unites humanity, it’s the call of nature. But depending on where we live, it’s not always possible to dispose of our bodily waste safely and responsibly.

World Toilet Day is about inspiring action to tackle the global sanitation crisis. Still today, 4.5 billion people, or around 60% of the global population, live without a household toilet that safely disposes of their waste. The result, 862 million people worldwide still practise open defecation, and 1.8 billion people use an unimproved source of drinking water with no protection against contamination from faeces.

With safe water and good hygiene, improved sanitation could prevent around 842,000 deaths each year. Dealing with our poo properly is not only about averting danger, it’s also about seizing an opportunity. Poo, safely treated and reused, has massive potential as an affordable and sustainable source of energy, nutrients and water. Sanitation systems also generate jobs and investment opportunities.

The Sustainable Development Goals, launched in 2015, include a target to ensure everyone has access to a safely-managed household toilet by 2030. This makes sanitation central to eradicating extreme poverty.

To achieve those goals, we need everyone’s poo to take a 4-step journey:

  • Poo must be deposited into a hygienic toilet and stored in a sealed pit or tank, separated from human contact.
  • Pipes or latrine emptying services must move the poo to the treatment stage.
  • Poo must be processed into treated wastewater and waste products that can be safely returned to the environment.
  • Disposal or reuse. Safely treated poo can be used for energy generation or as fertilizer in food production

 

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The global sanitation crisis is reflected in the following facts, according to reports from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)

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