Tag Archives: USA

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.

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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.

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USA: Amnesty and WaterAid “Give a Crap about Human Rights” campaign

From now until World Toilet Day, 19 November, WaterAid USA and Amnesty International USA are urging people to Give a Crap about Human Rights by supporting the Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act.

This Act would help provide 100 million people with “first-time, sustainable access to safe drinking water and sanitation within six years”.

The “Give a Crap about Human Rights” campaign is part of Amnesty’s Demand Dignity Campaign sub-programme on the human right to housing. This includes work on equal access to services for people living in inadequate housing – and clean water and sanitation are crucial services, and basic human rights.

Go to the Give a Crap about Human Rights web page for more information.

Source: Amnesty International USA,

Occupy Wall Street’s greywater treatment system and “sanitation working group”

6 October 2011, Day 21 of Occupy Wall Street.. Photo: David Shankbone / Wikimedia

Protesters participating in the Occupy Wall Street demonstration in New York have constructed a greywater treatment system to recycle dishwater contaminants. The filtered water is used for the plants and flowers in Zuccotti Park where the protesters have their base camp.

The Wikipedia entry on Occupy Wall Street has a separate section on sanitation, which was becoming a “growing concern” according to the owners of Zuccotti Park, Brookfield Office Properties. “Sanitary conditions have reached unacceptable levels”, they said, claiming that protesters were refusing to cooperate to clean up the park since their arrival on 17 September 2011. The protesters do, however, have a “sanitation working group” that sweeps and picks up garbage. In a comment on the Occupy Wall Street forum, one user said:

The Brookfield statement explains that they usually hose down the plaza and they have not been able to since the protestors are there. That’s about the only thing the protest is preventing.

Members of the OWS Sanitation Working Group. Photo: @wesupportoccupy / Twitpic

In a report on the popular US satirical programme the Daily Show, owners of nearby restaurants and delis voiced their irritation among the growing number of protesters using their toilets.

Source: Wikipedia – Occupy Wall Street ; FoxNews.com: Zucotti Park (User Submitted), OccupyWallStreet Forum, 07 Oct 2011 ; John Del Signore, Gothamist, 07 Oct 2011

CLOO – new app uses social media to share toilets

This app turns any private toilet into a public toilet accessible to friends & friends of friends using social media connections, with the aim to solve the problem of too-few easily accessible toilets in cities. CLOO allows registered users to charge a small fee for the use of their toilet.

CLOO was developed by Hillary Young & Deanna McDonald.

For more info go to: www.cloo-app.com

USA handwashing survey – Public Handwashing Takes a Hike


Public Handwashing Takes a Hike

  • More Adults (85%) Than Ever Observed Washing Hands in Public Restrooms
  • Men Are Doing Better, But Women Are Still the Hand Cleaning Champs

BOSTON, Sept. 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Mom’s advice about cleaning your hands may finally be starting to get through.

In the latest observational study sponsored by the American Society for Microbiology and the American Cleaning Institute® (formerly The Soap and Detergent Association), 85% of adults washed their hands in public restrooms, compared with 77% in 2007. The 85% total was actually the highest observed since these studies began in 1996. The results were announced at the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, an infectious disease meeting sponsored by the American Society for Microbiology.

In a separate telephone survey, 96% of adults say they always wash their hands in public restrooms, a percentage that has remained relatively constant over the years.

On behalf of ASM and ACI, Harris Interactive discreetly observed 6,028 adults in public restrooms in August 2010 to note whether or not people washed their hands. Researchers returned to six locations in four cities where two previous studies were conducted: Atlanta (Turner Field), Chicago (Museum of Science and Industry, Shedd Aquarium), New York City (Grand Central Station, Penn Station), and San Francisco (Ferry Terminal Farmers Market).

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