Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Open Defecation - Innovative Ways To Deal With It

artur 84, freedigitalphotos.net 
Talking about open defecation, may I tell you that, way back in 2500 BC, the Harappan civilization had the world’s first flush toilets or water closets? But it is sad to say that, even after so many centuries later, India is the country, with the highest number of people practicing open defecation. 597 million people as of 2012 statistics, that’s a whopping amount.

Health hazards

This problem of such a huge magnitude should be dealt with quickly and effectively. I am happy to say that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged the NRI’s in Australia to build a toilet in their village of origin in India.

Open defecation causes many diseases, most notably diarrhea, typhoid, intestinal worm infections, cholera, polio, hepatitis, trachoma and other diseases.

The practice of passing poop in the open can cause diarrheal death in children. A statistic shows that 2000 children under the age of 5 die every day, that is one child every 40 seconds. I think this is a very serious problem, which should be given top priority.

Infectious diarrhea also causes stunted growth in children due to under nutrition. Recently there has been a spike in rapes and sexual molestation, when young girls and women are searching for secluded places, to free themselves from nature’s call.

Clarissa Brocklehurst, from the Grillings School of Public Health says that, “if generations of children are to be saved from the stunting and ill health that poor sanitation causes and generations of women and girls are to be saved, from the indignity and risk that open defecation entails, then addressing sanitation must be India’s highest priority”.

Innovative ways to deal with poop

Nanyang Technological University scientists have invented a new toilet system, that will turn human waste into electricity and fertilizers, and 90% reduction in the amount of water needed for flushing.

Scientists at the University of Colorado, have invented solar-powered toilets.  The self-contained waterless toilets have the capability of heating human waste to a high temperature and create biochar, a highly porous charcoal.

Recycling and reuse of human excreta for biogas generation are important to get rid of the health problems caused by human poop. Sulabh International a social service organization has developed a model, which changes human poop to biogas. This biogas is utilized for cooking, lighting through mantle lamps, electricity generation, and body warming during winter.

Human waste can be recycled by the methods of composting and can be used for gardening and agricultural purposes. This process is called humanure.

I have discussed with you, so many innovative ways. It would be wise to turn human waste into something productive. So, the most backward villages can become self-sufficient in farming, biogas production, and electricity generation and the top laurel being, better sanitation, hygiene, safety and an improved standard of living.

Take care,