In today’s age of unprecedented technological progress and innovation, over 2.6 billion people still lack improved sanitation facilities. Even more lack access to proper treatment of human feces. In fact, over 4,000 children die daily from diarrheal diseases caused by this deficiency. Even in areas where improved composting latrines have been installed, they frequently do not reach temperatures necessary for inactivation of harmful pathogens such as Ascaris eggs. Lots of energy and innovation has been put forth on designing better toilets and thinking about ways of possible reuse but the majority of the world still lacks access to proper treatment of human feces.
In the developed world, expensive infrastructure, water, electricity, and waste treatment plants are required to flush fecal matter away. With U.S. groundwater use exceeding replacement rates by 21 billion gallons a day and increased conflict over watershed resources, this trend is highly unsustainable. Further, due to the high costs of providing a flush toilet, many rural U.S. facilities choose to use common pit latrines which at best are an unpleasant experience. In a world that has had so much technological innovation, it is a wonder that sanitation is still in such a primitive state.
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