The Importance of Sanitation

By: ZOE REED SANDERSON


posted on: September 22nd, 2020

Access to safe water and waste disposal is a big problem in the world. Over 60% of the world’s population live without access to properly managed sanitation services, like toilets and clean drinking water. For example, Cape Town in South Africa was very close to running out of water. This was known as ‘Day Zero’. Water availability will decrease as an effect of Climate Change. Toilets are 30% of our water usage. Getting rid of human waste in a more sustainable way will help this as we can improve our environment by finding more ecological ways of doing so. Dry toilets are a cheap solution to this problem. They also benefit the environment.

What are dry toilets?

Dry toilets work without water and so there is no need to flush the toilet. Instead, you have to separate the urine from solid waste. The solid waste then naturally breaks down into compost. This is because billions of microbes feed on the waste. The product is organic material which is full of nutrients and can be used to fertilise the ground. Urine is also an excellent fertiliser because it contains a lot of nitrogen.  

What are the benefits of dry toilets?

There are 2.5 billion people in the world without toilets. Dry toilets are a solution to this. They are more ecologically-friendly than ordinary toilets. They are cheap to build and can be built anywhere. They also only smell a little, and they are easy to empty. Instead of a hole in the ground, which children can fall into and then die from disease, dry toilets are a much safer alternative. They are hygienic as bacteria kill the toxins (bacteria that are harmful to the body) in human waste. There is no need to get rid of sewage because all the waste breaks down. They are outside and so you don’t need to build anything to house them in. For example, dry toilets have been built at Lake Naivasha in Kenya and the waste is covered with grasses and leaves to reduce the smell. It also helps the microbes break down human waste.

Dry toilets also have environmental advantages. As they don’t use water, each person can save over 6,600 gallons of water every year. The urine and organic material also makes the earth more fertile because of nutrients. This means that farmers can grow more and healthier crops and so help local communities. 

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