* 2008 is the International Year of Sanitation
* 2.6 billion people live without safe means of waste disposal
* Shares real-world solutions to our waste problems
Except in schoolboy jokes, the subject of human wastes is rarely aired. We talk about “water-related” diseases when most are sanitation-related. Yet for millions of people who will never be able to flush their bodily emissions into an expensive and invisible sewer, getting rid of that is the key issue. Because the topic is taboo, the worldwide crisis whereby 2.6 billion people are without a safe and efficient means of excreta disposal is neglected. International attention and resources have almost all been focused on “water”. “Sanitation” remains an ornamental—or a dirty?—word.
This book breaks many silences surrounding today's sanitation crisis. It de-couples the “water and sanitation” connection, and argues that—to make real progress—we need a radical new mind-set. A century and a half ago, a long, hot summer reduced the Thames flowing past the UK Houses of Parliament to a “Great Stink”, thereby inducing MPs to legislate sanitary reform. Today, another sanitary reformation is needed, one that manages to spread cheaper and simpler systems to people everywhere. We must learn from historical experience how to abandon our “Great Distaste” and do the business.
In the byways of the developing world, much is quietly happening on the excretory frontier. This book takes us on a tour of those endeavors, in the company of today's sanitary heroes. In the International Year of Sanitation, the authors bring—with humor and impeccable taste—this awkward subject to a wider audience than the world of international waste usually commands. They seek the elimination of the Great Distaste so that people without political clout or economic muscle can claim their right to a dignified and hygienic place to “go”.
Published with UNICEF.