Toilets: Clean Talk on a Dirty Subject
Listen to our interview with Arno Rosemarin here.
Rosemarin is an expert on sanitation. He works at the Stockholm Environment Institute, and he’s our guest in this Science Forum discussion. He’s taking your questions about sanitation and toilets.
Why talk about toilets? Because even today — in the 21st century – a third of the world does not have access to basic sanitation. The result: water and soil pollution, and widespread health problems like cholera and dysentery.
Sanitation is “something that human beings have… trouble talking about,” says Rosemarin. But he contends we must get over our aversion to the subject if we are to solve the earth’s sanitation challenges.
So how can we provide basic sanitation to those who don’t have access to it? And would you be willing to trade your flush toilet for a more earth-friendly design? Bring your thoughts and questions to the conversation.
Although the modern flush toilet carries away our waste and reduces the transmission of disease, it uses a lot of water. In China, toilets account for up to half the water used in a typical household, worsening the country’s chronic water scarcity.
Rosemarin would like to move people away from flush toilets, but that is no easy task. When he tried to introduce a sustainable, dry-composting toilet in a Chinese city, unforeseen problems prevented the toilets from working properly. You can listen to that story at the top of this page, or read it here.
Follow our Toilet Tales from China, India, Haiti, and the U.S.Hide