Mention of the world’s water crisis sounds so far-fetched. 70% of planet earth is covered in water, so how can there be a water crisis? Water seems quite plentiful by all standards. How, then, can the world experience a water crisis? Here is the question — could waterless toilet technology fix the world’s water crisis?
The World’s Water Crisis Explained
Of the world’s water, only 3% accounts for freshwater that is suitable for human use. Two-thirds of this freshwater is in the form of frozen glaciers, further cutting down on the amounts available to us.
The human population, on the other hand, is on the increase, having doubled in the last 50 years. And since the human population competes for the increasingly strained water resources, the water crisis is inevitable.
Human activities on natural resources are not making the water situation any better.
- Deforestation and logging have destroyed forests and trees, which has, in turn, led to the drying up of aquifers, lakes, and rivers.
- Plant and human wastes make it hard to access clean water due to pollution.
- Poor agricultural practices have led to more water consumption due to inefficiencies.
- Climate change as a result of these activities causes flash floods in some areas and extreme drought in others.
It is a fact that world ecosystems are already suffering.
According to the World Wildlife Organization, about 1.1 billion people worldwide face acute water shortage. 2.7 billion people lack access to this precious commodity at least once a month. In comparison, 2.4 billion people face sanitation challenges.
Many believe that by 2025, two-thirds of the world’s population may lack access to water. The water situation is so dire that for the survival of life on the planet, something has to be done. Fast.
But is a waterless toilet technology the answer?
Understanding the Waterless Toilet Technology
Most people, especially those living in cities and other urban areas, are used to the conventional flush toilets that use water to dispose of human waste after they are done with their business.
But now, imagine a sanitation system that allows you to poop and dispose of your waste without using copious amounts of water in the process. You don’t need any water at all for this process. It sounds surreal, but it is true. Thanks to the waterless toilet technology.
Don’t wring your nose in disgust — well, not just yet.
The thought of disposing of poop without water irks many people, as it sounds so unhygienic. But it is not; in fact, it is one of the most eco-friendly lifestyle solutions that can fix the world’s water crisis and give Mother Nature back her glory.
With the current environmental concerns, eco-friendly living is no longer a choice, it’s a necessity.
There are various ways of protecting water resources and saving human and plant life from further damage. The waterless toilet technology is one of them.
Here’s how it works.
- Composting — The waterless composting toilet technology is the most popular since it is the cheapest alternative to the modern flush toilet. It works by decomposing human waste by natural mechanisms into a useful end product known as compost. The compost can be utilized as manure to enrich the soil for growing crops.
- Incineration — The technology works by burning human waste into sterile ash as a sanitary solution for waste disposal.
- Nanotechnology — This waterless technology of human waste disposal works by drying out poop into tiny solids that are free of pathogens. These end products are best utilized as fuel and crop-growing fertilizers. The technology allows for water from the pervaporation process to be condensed, sterilized, and safely stored for household use.
Could this solution Fix the World’s Water Crisis?
What is the impact waterless flushing would have on the 2.4 billion people that suffer inadequate sanitation? Likely it is huge. Not only is the system hygienic, but it also provides a safe waterless method for waste disposal.
Consequently, this would curb the health menace of waterborne diseases such as typhoid fever, cholera, and dysentery that claim the lives of 2 million adults and children annually.
Also, since the waterless toilet technology conserves water by eliminating wastage and misuse of this scarce resource, it provides an excellent solution for the 1.1 billion people who face water shortage worldwide.
Instead of channeling water to waste disposal systems, they can now conserve the little available for life-saving activities.
The waterless toilet technology eliminates the threat of dangerous and life-threatening by-products from human wastes polluting streams and rivers. This protects the environment from degradation, ensuring water resources remain safe and available for human use.
Some of the waterless toilet technologies allow for the end products of disposal to be recycled for household reuse. Water is one of the end products that can be sterilized and safely used in the home.
Although the uptake of waterless composting toilets is slow among modern households, it is one of the inventive technologies that can fix the world’s water problem—at this point, every drop counts.
However, if not properly maintained, the waterless systems can be hazardous and create an even bigger sanitation and water crisis.
Waterless toilet technology not only changes how the world poops but also improves sanitation and goes a long way in saving water through eco-friendly living.
So, the concern is no longer on how the innovative waterless toilet technology could fix the world’s water crisis, but it’s about how soon could this be realized?
[Editor’s Note: Dear Reader, I almost trashed this article. My nose is wrinkled in disgust, and I’m repelled by the very idea this post presents. I try to keep my judgments to myself and allow the ReadWrite readership to make up its own mind on the issues. Still, for a tech site — this feels — un-tech. Please don’t send any “stinky” comments — I know – I get it… DR]
I’m a technology enthusiast, financial markets diehard, and an all-round geek. Currently, I focus on understanding how emerging technologies, like AI, can transform our world and make our lives better.