New York City Fights Scavengers Over a Treasure: Trash | Source: New York Times, Mar 20 2016 |
The video begins with ominous notes from a piano and an image of crime scene tape. The camera pans to men hunched over garbage pails, sifting for bottles, and a stoop-shouldered woman towing a shopping cart full of cans. Some might feel sympathy for these collectors, but the video makes clear that the New York City Sanitation Department, which made the video and posted it online, wanted them to be seen as something else: common criminals.
“Scavengers are putting the Department of Sanitation’s recycling program at risk, by removing the most valuable recyclables,” a voice-over begins. “Nobody wants to be perceived of as picking on the little guy, but the lone scavenger is now an organized, sophisticated mob of scavenger collectives that systematically removes valuable recyclables,” it continues. “Recycling is the law. Scavenging is a crime. Don’t allow scavenging to steal recycling’s future.”
The moment refuse hits the curb it becomes the city’s property — and the city’s problem. From there, materials like metals, cardboard and plastic are supposed to enter into the vast web of the recycling process, a network of carters and sorters, compactors and remelters. The theft of such items has long been an issue, taking a toll on the city’s curbside recycling, or diversion, rate. The problem has peaked and fallen over the years as prices for commodities have fluctuated.
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Hookworm Infections and Sanitation Failures Plague Rural Alabama. by Brett Walton, Circle of Blue, Dec 17 2015.
An excerpt – A measure of desperation and disease, parasitic infections caused by hookworms are seen by medical specialists as a powerful betrayal of civic progress. More than 700 million people worldwide, many of them children, are infected by a microscopic worm that left unattended causes serious anemia. In the United States, hookworm was prevalent in the Deep South around the turn of the 20th century until modern sewage treatment systems and better hygiene practices eradicated the scourge.
Or so it was thought.
In Lowndes County, Alabama, a young professor of infectious diseases named Rojelio Mejia has launched a “parasite expedition.” Mejia’s search comes in a part of the state, west of Montgomery, with failing septic systems, inadequate public financing for sanitation, isolated communities, poorly draining soils, and notorious humidity. The social and environmental conditions, in other words, form a perfect breeding ground for tiny organisms that lodge in the intestines of people.
“The whole source of infection is poor sanitation,” says Mejia, an assistant professor at Baylor College of Medicine.
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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. 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!
Posted in Africa, Campaigns and Events, East Asia & Pacific, Europe & Central Asia, Latin America & Caribbean, Middle East & North Africa, North America, Sanitary Facilities, Sanitation and Health, South Asia, Web sites
Tagged #ToiletEquals, Africa, Asia, Australia, Exhibition, My Toilet, North America, photography, sanitation, South America, World Toilet Day, WSUP
Five-year-old Wally has built a wastewater treatment plant with Lego. Watch him explain how it works.
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
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.
A video demonstrates the working of the prototype of the solar-powered toilet that won the first prize of US$ 100,000 in the Reinventing the Toilet Challenge issued by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Solar-Powered Self-contained Human Waste Water Treatment System was developed by Prof. Michael Hoffmann‘s research group at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).
In 2011 the Caltech team was awarded a US$ 400,000 grant to create a toilet that can safely dispose of human waste and reuse water for just five US dollar cents per user per day.
Solar energy powers an electrochemical reactor, which converts human waste into fertiliser and hydrogen, which is stored in hydrogen fuel cells as energy. The treated water can be reused to flush the toilet or for irrigation.
The toilet, which could cost US$ 1,000 or more per unit according to the Seattle Times, is still a prototype and would need to be adapted before it can be launched commercially.
Source: Marcus Woo, Caltech, 15 Aug 2012 ; Theodoric Meyer, Seattle Times, 14 Aug 2012