Insights about sanitation and health

Our expert Alison Parker draws our attention on two interesting articles:

Imagining a Sewerless Society: The sewered sanitation systems we have in Europe are great for allowing us to flush the toilet handle and forget about our waste, trusting in an invisible treatment system to ensure it doesn’t pollute our environment or cause us to become ill.   But it is nonsensical to use 10L of water every time we flush the toilet – water that has taken energy to treat so it so clean enough to drink.   In low income countries sewers are too expensive to install, and many people rely on on-site systems without sewers.   Although they can be smelly and unhygienic, others have significant innovation to make them energy neutral and to recovery the nutrients in our waste. As water in Europe becomes scarcer maybe we will need to take advantage of these technologies as well.   This article explores what a sewerless society might look like:

The second piece highlights the importance of a participatory approach when planning a sanitation project;  engineers do not necessarily know best about the sanitation needs of a community. Dani Barrington explains this in a blog post here:

These reflections are based on the findings of her research, published in the journal “social science and medicine”:

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