Link of the Day 111808: Getting serious about human waste [NPR]

The Big Necessity by Rose George

Kai Ryssdal of Public Radio’s Marketplace recently interviewed Rose George, author of the Big Necessity.

George commenting on sanitation:

Well, it’s one of the most effective health preventions you can make. And the World Bank and the World Health Organization has calculated that if you invest $1 in sanitation, then you reap $7 in health costs diverted and in labor days that are gained. Your workers are not off sick from diarrhea. So, it’s extremely cost effective. It’s actually a bargain.

From the book’s description:

the western world luxuriates in flush toilets; in toilets that play music or can check blood pressure, where the flush is a thoughtless thing, and anything that can go down a sewer – nappies, motorbikes, goldfish – does. In these times, Japanese women routinely use a device called a Flush Princess to mask the sound of their bodily functions; while in China millions of people happily use public toilets with no doors. The Big Necessity – as one Mumbai toilet builder called the toilet – is the account of my travels through the profoundly intriguing but stupidly neglected world of the disposal of human waste, which houses characters like Jack Sim, founder of the World Toilet Organization; Wang Ming Ying, who is attempting to alleviate environmental devastation and deforestation in China by persuading rural Chinese to install biogas digesters, which produce cooking gas from human feces; Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak, whose NGO Sulabh has built half a million toilets in India, as well as the world’s only museum of toilets; and the flushers of London and New York’s sewers, who scoff at roaches but hate rats nearly as much as they hate congealed cooking fat and tri-ply toilet paper.

Hat-tip Lorin S.

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