Yes you are right. It takes time for new starters to realize that
sanitation is first of all a system. And then it is not just a system of
technologies but it involves human beings that behave differently in
various parts of the world with varying attitudes. So as you say the
toilet is only one component. It is therefore misleading or
counter-productive to focus only on "reinventing the toilet". Yes the
toilet is important, no question but it needs to be a tool that allows
for sustainable options. The fixation towards toilets alone has led to
pit latrines (Hide and Forget) and flush toilets (Flush and Forget) and
really no social learning about what the system impacts are, how
expensive they are and what the risks are. These questions become
crystal clear and tragic in disasters where the WASH system fails,
causes widespread disease and mortality especially among small children.
We should be thinking in terms of re-evaluating the sanitation system or
value chain. It could well be that this is what Gates Foundation had in
mind and it will never be to late to expand the horizon.
From: ecosan...@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ecosan...@yahoogroups.com] On
Behalf Of Carol Steinfeld
Sent: den 26 april 2012 20:17
Subject: Re: EcoSanRes: Fwd: FW: Letters of Inquiry for the Reinvent the
Toilet Challenge Round 2
The problem is with the word "toilet."
We hear "Much of the world's population has no toilet" then a suggestion
that this is why they are prone to disease. But a sizable percentage of
the world's population has a toilet---one that drains to lakes, streams,
rivers, seashore, groundwater or other drinking water sources. And so
those toilets are disease vectors.
A toilet is a collection device. The sanitation deficiency or disease
vector challenge that needs addressing is excreta management.
This framing of the problem as "a lack of toilet" is confusing the
public's and NGOs' understanding of the problem. And so you get Gates
and some research organizations funding research of toilets that drain
to tiny settling tanks with small biogas digesters and little reverse
osmosis systems and and then a burning of the resulting solids. Anyone
who has worked in developing countries knows why this expensive and
maintenance-intensive system would not fly in most places of need. It
also would be a hard sell in a wealthy community in the United States.
We need to use better terms for this problem and get away from the
simplistic and inaccurate term "toilet" when discussing the need for
sanitation. "Excreta management" is accurate but perhaps is not vivid
enough for many.
Let's think about alternative terms to use when describing this
situation to the public.
On Thu, Apr 26, 2012 at 4:42 AM, Richard Holden
Interesting to note the reply from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
on thier proposal to reinvent the toilet (and it is not an automated
reply if you look at the time delay).
It clearly shows that they will not engage in any debate and have the
attitude, because I have the money and therefore the power, I will tell
you what to do, even when what they are proposing is a physical
impossibility (I stand to be corrected on this).
Also there is no discussion on how to bring water on to site for other
uses and dispose of the greywater afterwards.
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