British Pakistani Reinvents the Toilet
A team headed by Professor Sohail Khan, a British Pakistani researcher
at Loughborough University, won $60,000 second place prize for
developing a toilet that converts human waste into biological charcoal,
which can be burned, and clean water. The prize was announced on August
14, Pakistan's Independence Day, at Gates Foundation's "Reinvent the
Toilet Fair" in Seattle, Washington, which showcased dozens of similar
projects aimed at creating an inexpensive and eco-friendly alternative
to the flush toilet.
Michael Hoffmann of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena
and his colleagues won the top prize of $100,000. Caltech design uses
solar power to run an electrochemical reactor that breaks down human
waste to produce hydrogen gas. The gas can be stored and used to run the
reactor at night or on cloudy days. according to Science Magazine.
Third place prize worth $40,000 went to Yu-Ling Cheng of the University
of Toronto in Canada and her colleagues whose design dehydrates and
smolders solid waste, sanitizing it within 24 hours.
The current flush toilet design is not suitable in places where water
supply and sewage pipe infrastructure is not widely available. This
describes much of the developing world where open defecation is still
common. A 2011 UNICEF report said Indians make up 58% of the world
population which still practices open defection. India (638m) is
followed by Indonesia (58m), China (50m), Ethiopia (49m), Pakistan
(48m), Nigeria (33m) and Sudan (17m). In terms of percentage of each
country's population resorting to the unhygienic practice, Ethiopia tops
the list with 60%, followed by India 54%, Nepal 50%, Pakistan 28%,
Indonesia 26%, and China 4%.
Here's how Bill Gates describes his foundation's "Reinvent the Toilet Challenge" on his thegatesnotes.com website:
When you think about it, the flush toilet is actually a pretty
outdated sanitation solution. It was certainly an important breakthrough
when it was created in 1775 by a Scottish mathematician and watchmaker
named Alexander Cummings. Over the decades, it led to a sanitary
revolution that helped keep deadly diseases like cholera at bay, saving
hundreds of millions of lives.
But the fact that four of every 10 people still don’t have access to
flush toilets proves that—even today—it is a solution too expensive for
much of the world. And in an era where water is becoming increasingly
precious, flush toilets that require 10 times more water than our daily
drinking water requirement are no longer a smart or sustainable
A big part of the challenge is technological. In addition to building
new toilets that are affordable and sustainable, we have to develop
solutions to empty these new latrines and treat the human waste. We also
have to work closely with governments, businesses, and communities to
stimulate demand for better sanitation, encourage investment, and create
supportive public policies that will allow these innovative solutions
Inventing new toilets is one of the most important things we can do to
reduce child deaths and disease and improve people’s lives. It is also
something that can help wealthier countries conserve fresh water for
other important purposes besides flushing.
We don’t have all the answers yet, but I’m optimistic that we can and
will solve this problem. I’m hopeful that this unusual summer fair will
be a positive step toward that important goal.
Haq's Musings: British Pakistani Wins "Reinvent the Toilet Challeng
In: Science and Technology
Tags: British, Pakistani, Re-invents, the, toilet, Iran, iranian, pakistan, afghanistan, syria, iraq, jordan, kuwait, yemen, Saudi, Arabia, Canada, Australia, Muslim, Islam, Israel,
Marked as: approved
Views: 2260 | Comments: 16 | Votes: 0 | Favorites: 0 | Shared: 0 | Updates: 0 | Times used in channels: 1
|Liveleak on Facebook|