Tag Archives: Maggie Black

Maggie Black – ‘Name and shame’ policy gets results

The millennium development goal for sanitation was the blank spot in the international mind – not even articulated in the original line-up. Only in 2002 was a goal to halve the proportion of people who in 1990 were without sanitation added to the identical goal for water. Since the existing base was so low – only 41% of people in developing countries had toilets in 1990 – even the target was pathetic: if met, 1.8 billion people will be left without sanitation facilities.

However, the global goal will not be met. According to the World Health Organisation and Unicef, the world will not get even half-way on current trends. In sub-Saharan Africa the goal will not be reached until 2108. Thanks to population growth, the global population without basic facilities will decrease only slightly, from 2.5 to 2.4 billion.

The year 2008 was declared the UN International Year of Sanitation, but unlike water supplies, with which sanitation is often wrongly conflated, toilets do not easily attract political and popular attention. Cultural inhibitions in every society concerning this intimate and basic human act ensure that silence reigns supreme.

More – The Guardian

Maggie Black – Creating a stink about the world’s wastewater

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.

More – The Guardian

Maggie Black – An unmentionable global crisis

Exactly 150 years ago, an exceptionally hot summer in 1858 reduced the Thames flowing through London to a scandalous condition known as the ‘Great Stink.’

The smell off the river was so excruciating that Parliament could barely sit. Fear of pestilence had a powerfully concentrating effect on MPs legislative capacities.

The smell off the river was so excruciating that Parliament could barely sit. Fear of pestilence had a powerfully concentrating effect on MPs legislative capacities.

Read MoreThe Telegraph