More than 1 billion people in developing countries still have no toilets and 900 million people no clean water, International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander [from DFID, the UK Department for International Development] said [on 28 Oct 2008] on the 150th anniversary of the Great Stink in London.
Douglas Alexander announced an increased effort to bring an end to the sanitation crisis in developing countries by building toilets for more than 50 million people and providing clean water to more than 25 million people in the developing world over the next five years. DFID will meet its commitment of £200 million to Africa by 2010 and maintain this until 2013.
Britain’s sanitary revolution took place 150 years ago, but what is preventing so much of the developing world from catching up?
Exactly 150 years ago, an exceptionally hot spell of summer weather reduced the Thames flowing through London to a scandalous condition known as The Great Stink. Queen Victoria, travelling down the river to Millwall docks, had to contain her nausea by clamping a bouquet to her nose. The fumes were not only foul but terrifying, since they were thought to be pestilential – the source of cholera. (…)
Exactly 150 years ago, an exceptionally hot spell of summer weather reduced the Thames flowing through London to a scandalous condition known as The Great Stink. Queen Victoria, travelling down the river to Millwall docks, had to contain her nausea by clamping a bouquet to her nose. The fumes were not only foul but terrifying, since they were thought to be pestilential – the source of cholera.
The Great Stink, with its power of concentrating MPs’ faculties, led to the introduction of legislation for the transformation of sewerage in London. An unprecedented sum for a domestic purpose, £3m, was voted for intercepting sewers to be tunnelled along the riverside by Sir Joseph Bazalgette. The act, rushed through by August 1858 was to lead to revolutions in local government and public health engineering throughout the world.
If only such action was expressed today. Great Stinks are still routinely emanated by rivers swollen with raw sewage and reduced to a trickle in the hot season in parts of Asia, Africa and Central America. But the stench does not instil the same degree of terror.
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Today is World Toilet Day – see here and also ThePublicToilet.com. The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, in association with Domestos, has released this report which is well worth reading: Toilets for Health.
From the Gates Foundation website (dated 14 August): ‘Bill Gates Names Winners of the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge’:California Institute of Technology in the United States received the $100,000 first prize for designing a solar-powered toilet that generates hydrogen and electricity. Loughborough University in the United Kingdom won the $60,000 second place […]
In a letter to The Economist (28 July 2012) Tony Simons, Director General of the World Agroforestry Centre in Nairobi, writes that, to reduce hunger and promote food security in the Sahel, agroforestry is the way forward. As he notes, “Trees provide not only ecological resilience but also cash income, energy, environmental services, fodder for animals and nu […]
“The dry toilets in Inner Mongolia's Daxing eco-community have been quietly replaced after three years of bad smells, health problems and maggots.” Oops! See the full entry in the Guardian Environment Network (30 July 2012).
IRC has on its website a good photo-sequence on how to build a fossa alterna: “This photo story shows you how to construct a fossa alterna, how to empty it and how to process the compost. After 12−18 months of composting it is safe to empty a fossa alterna toilet and use the compost as fertilizer for your garden soil”. Fossas alternas? Read Peter Morgan’s To […]
What Does It Take to Scale Up Rural Sanitation? by Eduardo Perez and published earlier this month by the Water and Sanitation Program is an important document because, as the report’s webpage says, “Today, 2.5 billion people live without access to improved sanitation. … Of those without access to sanitation, 75 percent live in rural areas [emphasis added].” […]
Have a look at the John Snow Society’s 2011 Pumphandle Lecture Epidemiology for the Bottom Billion – where there’s not even a pump handle to remove! by Hans Rosling who’s a professor at the Karolinska Institute and also chairman of the Gapminder Foundation. An excellent lecture. Check out the Gapminder videos − you’ll find some pretty stunning ones!Who’s Joh […]
Franck Many thanks for this useful post. May I copy it to the members of a WASH and Nutrition Community of Practice that we are developing? The link is: usaidlearninglab.org/working-group/commu...tion-and-feed-future Best regards, Dan Campbell
Dear All, Concern Worldwide advocacy department is involved in the SUN Movement but my own modest task as a WASH technical adviser is to identify practical ways for our WASH and nutrition programme teams to work towards more integration, the development of cross-sectorial approaches. So far, we are investigating the following possible links between WASH/Nutr […]
Hi All, Super-excited to meet you guys on this forum!! I came across this model on Behaviour Change and thought of sharing with you all. This can be applied to a mass as well as an individual. The examples may not be from the WASH sector, but they can always be applied to any sector where the interventions are planned to change a particular behavior. We had […]
Dear Sir or Madam, I am a research assistant and I am searching for current figures and data on the flow rates and material characteristics of different waste water streams (Gray-, yellow-, brown- and black water and other) and the associated energy demand or gain. Also costs of already implemented projects are interesting for me. I'm looking especially […]
Are constructed treatment wetlands sustainable sanitation solutions? Günter answers that question himself by saying that it's the whole sanitation system that counts and not the single technology that makes sth. sustainable or not. I would like to expand this even further, by saying it's not the technologies or a system of technologies that matter, […]
Hi Sophia, Sorry for the late reply, I had not seen your initial post until today. I am also based at Elsenburg where Cobus is the Programme Manager. It would be very happy to meet up and discuss the work that goes on here, and your work too. Feel free to contact me whenever is suitable. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScri […]
we are using a combination of up flow anaerobic reactor + constructed wetlands in periurban areas of Cochabamba - Bolivia successfully since 2009 see aguatuya.org/?page_id=30 and related publications. The reactors do 2/3 of the job (BOD remotion) and the CW 1/3... I believe CWs are reliable and very tolerant to fluctuations in organic load.