In honor of Earth Day, I think it is time to talk about the worldwide sanitation shortage that exists today. Living here in the United States it is easy to start taking our sewer and sanitation systems for granted. Almost anywhere you are, sanitary restrooms are likely available to you. Your workplace, your home, your parks all have the necessary sanitary equipment to make sure that your food and water supply remain safe. In most of the developing world this is not the case. In fact, having adequate access to restrooms and sanitary facilities is a luxury, not a requirement.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention worldwide 780 million people do not have access to an improved water source, and an estimated 2.5 billion people lack access to improved sanitation. That amounts to 35% of the world’s population does not have access to improved sanitation. This lack of basic sanitation and inadequate availability of clean water contribute to around 88% of deaths from diarrheal diseases. If you think the problem may not be that big, consider that 801,000 children younger than 5 years of age perish from diarrhea each year.
There have been several advances in water purification efforts, thanks to initiatives such as UNICEF, but these advances in water purification are only putting a Band-Aid on this problem. Sanitary restroom facilities are needed to insure that wastewater is properly taken care of, as to not effect the drinking water.
Thankfully the Portable Sanitation Association International is helping to quell this immense international issue. With the Global Sanitation Education Initiative, the PSAI is working towards developing affiliations with other non-profit foundations, associations, individuals and organizations to advance awareness of this issue.
Along with saving the drinking water from contamination, portable toilets also save water from being wasted on flush toilets. Portable toilets contain the waste inside of the units, but unlike standard flush toilets, they don’t waste gallons of water on every flush. They contain the waste, which can then be removed at a later time and be properly disposed of. Bringing this type of equipment to other parts of the world can not only help with improved water cleanliness, but also improved water conservation.
The PSAI is striving to provide the world with information about starting a proper sanitation program to try to put a stop to the millions of preventable deaths around the world. Earth Day is a time to think about how you can help the environment that you live in, but we should be thinking about the Earth as a whole. Visit the PSAI.org website link below to find out how you can assist us in our goal of global sanitation.