Potty Mouth

It’s time to talk up the unspeakable without fear of censorship – that’s right, it’s World Toilet Day today. Are you thinking this is all a load of crap? Let’s just bear down on these facts, shall we?:

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - NOVEMBER 22:  Spectators ...

Image by Getty Images via Daylife

1) “When Peru had a cholera outbreak in 1991, it cost $1 billion to contain but could have been prevented with $100 million of better sanitation measures.”

2) “Pakistan, for example, spends 47 times more on its military budget than on water and sanitation, though it loses 120,000 people to diarrhea a year.”

This sh*%-ty state of world affairs is outlined in a book titled The Big Necessity by Rose George. A great article at CNN points out that a lack of toilets causes more children’s deaths than malaria, AIDS, Tb, or even violent conflict. It also mentions that “Singaporean social-entrepreneur Jack Sim founded the non-profit World Toilet Organization (“the other WTO”) in 2001, as a support network for all existing organizations” to try to address this issue. And for those of use who live in the flushed First World environment – keep in mind that shrinking water resources and the lost potential for fuel, compost and profit with our current arrangements may mean that change is loo-ming on the horizon for us too – hopefully for the benefit of all humankind. Time has an article outlining such amazing things as our huge collective carbon production from sewage (our carbon butt-print?), the fact that a small village in France runs ten (count ’em 10!) buses off the methane produced by village poo (now there’s a tailpipe emission we can all get behind!), and the fact that the most innovative approaches in this area are reversing the usual flow and coming from undeveloped countries to developed ones (let’s hear it for back-ups!). And, as we circle the drain on this round-up of toilet news, don’t forget the recent announcement that astronauts are going where no human has gone before – by drinking their own purified urine. In a world of shrinking water resources, that’s one small sip for man, one giant hope for humankind.

Having the urge to get a load off? Feel free to take a dump of your ideas to our comments sections! [Why all the potty puns? Experts agree – the main barrier to addressing world sewage issues effectively is our own reluctance to talk about it – so here’s a cheer for those willing to leave their minds in the toilet!]

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