Monday, February 6, 2012

Outdoor Sanitation

Bill Gates is out to reinvent the toilet. He is hoping to help third world countries to eliminate disease and death due to poor sanitation. “Worldwide around 1.1 billion people lack access to improved water sources and 2.4 billion have no basic sanitation. Diarrhea due to infection is widespread throughout the developing world. In Southeast Asia and Africa, diarrhea is responsible for as much as 8.5% and 7.7% of all deaths, respectively.”

Some 2.2 million people, mostly children, die each year from diarrhea, according to the Word Health Organization. Bacterial infections, such as those caused by E. coli, as well as viral and parasitic infections account for many of the cases.Contaminated water can spread these organisms when used for bathing, drinking or cooking, and can penetrate the food supply when used for irrigation. {LA Times}

Bill Gates is investing 41.5 million dollars to universities for research and invention of a new kind of toilet. Because toilets are too expense for most people to buy, there has got to be another solution. I am imagining this new solution will also catch on to emergency preparedness stores and enthusiasts. If a toilet is accessible, inexpensive, and easy to transport, it will be great for those unexpected events when we are away from our flushable toilets.

While we are waiting for this exciting invention, the "Scouting" magazine has given us some suggestions on how to take care of business outdoors without leaving a trail or smell behind.

"Consider bringing a portable toilet, Options include compact models and those with battery-operated flush systems. the recommended "best practice" for solid human or pet waste disposal below the tree line is to deposit it in :Cat-holes" dug 6 to 8 inches deep and 4 to 6 inches in diameter at least 200 feet from water, trails and campsites."

They also suggest, "An alternative practice when camping with...large groups is to dig a latrine 200 feet from water, campsites, and trails, and make sure that the route to the latrine is over durable surfaces. The trench should be 6 to 8 inches deep and long enough to accommodate the needs of your party. Carryout options include portable toilets and a wide variety of commercial or homemade bag systems and "poop-tubes." {Scouting}

So perhaps this was way more information than you wanted about outdoor sanitation. It is all connected to our health and well-being, so we learn and live healthy lives. I hope your next outdoor sanitation experience is a healthy one :).

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