Category Archives: North America

My toilet: global stories from women and girls

You are invited to view an exciting new exhibition by WSUP, launched to mark World Toilet Day.

My Toilet documents women and girls and their toilets to build a visual representation of the day to day reality and the effect this has on their lives, both positive and negative.

Keyla, 4, by her toilet in Bolivar, Ecuador. Photography Karla Gachet. Panos Pictures for WSUP.

Keyla, 4, by her toilet in Bolivar, Ecuador. Photo: Karla Gachet, Panos Pictures for WSUP.

The images and stories show that, although the type of toilet changes from country to country, the impacts have recurring themes. Having can mean a better chance of education, employment, dignity, safety, status and more. Wherever you are in the world, a toilet equals far more than just a toilet.

Get involved on social media!
Help spread this message by sharing a picture of yourself holding up a sign with the hashtag #ToiletEquals followed by a word, or a few words, to describe what having a toilet equals for you and for millions of others around the world. All the tweets and pictures will be shown on the My Toilet website.

Visit the exhibition!
Images from 20 countries, spanning every continent, will be exhibited at The Royal Opera Arcade Gallery, London SW1Y 4UY. The gallery is open to the public from 17 – 22 November 2014, 10am – 5pm daily. Entry is free. We hope to see you there!

Wastewater treatment made simple … by a 5-year-old

Five-year-old Wally has built a wastewater treatment plant with Lego. Watch him explain how it works.

 

Robin Nagle: What I discovered in New York City trash

New York City residents produce 11,000 tons of garbage every day. Every day! This astonishing statistic is just one of the reasons Robin Nagle started a research project with the city’s Department of Sanitation. She walked the routes, operated mechanical brooms, even drove a garbage truck herself–all so she could answer a simple-sounding but complicated question: who cleans up after us?

Robin Nagle is an anthropologist with a very particular focus… garbage

Trash Dance – The Movie

Trash Dance Still – Night Performance. Photo: Andrew Garrison

All over the world, “unseen men and women […] do the work that most of us do not want to do”: collecting our waste. Seldom, do they get a chance to be in the limelight.

In 2008, former scavengers from India joined leading fashion models on the catwalk in New York.

In 2009, 24 garbage collectors and 16 of their trucks staged a trash ballet in Austin, Texas. More than 2,000 people came to watch. Director Andrew Garrison turned Allison Orr’s choreography into a prize winning documentary that premiered in 2012 and is now available on DVD. Watch the trailer and an amateur video of the original 2009 performance.

Sanitation promotion history: US New Deal posters

Posted created in 1940 by John Buczak for the US Federal Art Project. Collection Library of Congress

During the Great Depression in the 1930s, the US Government launched a series of economic programmes collectively known as the New Deal. The largest  of these programmes, run by WPA, the Works Progress Administration (renamed in 1939 as the Work Projects Administration), employed millions of unemployed people to carry out public works projects. Most famous was the WPA Federal Art Project (FAP) that employed musicians, artists, writers, actors and directors in large arts, drama, media, and literacy projects.

The FAP created over 200,000 separate works including 2,000 posters. Shown  here are several posters promoting sanitation and hygiene from the WPA poster collection of the Library of Congress.

Continue reading

Sewer Diving in Mexico City, Mumbai and Delhi

Watch BBC presenter Dallas Campbell help unclog a sewer in Mexico City in the BBC programme Supersized Earth. It ain’t pleasant.

Continue reading

USA: sanitation workers figure in presidential election campaign

“We’re kind of like the invisible people. He doesn’t realize, you know, the service we provide,” says sanitation worker Richard Hayes, who has picked up the trash at Mitt Romney’s Californian house.

Hayes and fellow sanitation worker Joan Raymond appear in an online ad campaign by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). The campaign suggests that Republican presidential candidate Romney is benefiting from government services while threatening to cut them back. Representing 1.6 million public service workers, AFSCME is supporting President Barack Obama in the 2012 US election.

Continue reading