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The diseases caused by lack of basic sanitation (over 2.4BB people!) or safe water (900MM people) are mind-numbing.  The U.N. has launched a new 5 Year Drive to Sustainable Sanitation, starting on the African continent. Maybe it’s time we had a different “waste appliance”.

Our flush toilet system in the US just doesn’t fit with much of the world. And may not fit with our future either, since it is so wasteful of water, an increasingly precious resource here, as well as around the world. It is a design that dates back a long time – read this speech made in Rwanda.  Current toilets clog easily, move fecal waste all over town, and they don’t turn the waste into compost or energy.  And they are incredibly expensive – not just the toilet at the plumbing store, but the infrastructure and taxes to pump water into them and waste back out to treatment centers.  Imagine what would happen in “the big earthquake” when sewage is pouring all through the streets. Yecchhh.

With over a million children, under 5 years of age, are dying every year for lack of basic sanitation and fresh water – several will die in the time you take to read this post –  it is time every Rotary club in District 5100 support a WASH project (WAter, Sanitation and Hygiene).  The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation agrees, and has given a grant to several universities around the world, and will award a prize for the best new toilet. The best design will not use piped water or require sewer sytems, or external electricity – they will generate fertilizer or energy, and cost less than 5¢ a day to use.  Now that’s affordable.

See the cute video:


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