Let’s talk crap, seriously. Yes, crap, poo, business, faeces, you name it, we all do it. But where does it go, and what happens when it gets there?
Sanitation, according to the World Health Organisation is the provision of facilities and services for the safe disposal of human urine and faeces (2014). This is generally an issue that is associated with the global south, and you’d be right, because in 2015 only 27% of less developed countries had basic handwashing facilities. Globally, there are 892 million people continue to practice open defecation, and in 2018, 2.3 billion (that’s 6 in 10) still do not have access to basic facilities such as toilets or latrines. Ensuring the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all is Goal 6 of the Sustainable Development Goals, which could be argued is misplaced and should be Goal 1, because water is life, it is a non-substitutable, essential and finite resource that is inextricably linked to the fundamentals of social and economic development.
However, sanitation is not a problem exclusive to the global south, the western world too has its issues, but the subject of human waste has been labelled taboo. We are fortunate enough to experience a toilet and infrastructure whose main aim is to get (sh)it out of sight and mind as quickly as possible. And it works, you don’t see the sewage, so it is easy to think it’s not there. The sewers effectively transform shit to effluent; from private waste to public problem. Whereas if we had to clean our own water, we probably wouldn’t contaminate it. So next time “you’ve got to go” spare a thought for the throne upon which you so fortunately sit.