We live in a huge world, a world where approximately 7.19 billion people reside. Such a high population brings a great need for managing human waste. Today, sanitation is a major challenge faced by countries all over the world. Sanitation refers to the presence of resources and provisions for safe dumping of human waste and urine. There are 2.5 billion people in the world who still do not use proper facilities for sanitation and more than 1 billion people participate in open defecation. That means 4 out of 10 people do not have access to proper toilets. This is a very alarming statistic because improper sanitation not only risks the spread of contagious diseases but also the environment.
There is a difference between hygiene and sanitation. Hygiene refers to personal cleanliness like washing hands and bathing, whereas sanitation refers to public cleanliness like using clean water, proper disposal of wastes etc.
Different kinds of sanitation
Food can help transmission of diseases from one person to another as well provide a growth medium to bacteria. These bacteria when consumed can cause food poisoning. This creates the need for ‘food sanitation’ which provides a series of practices to keep food unadulterated and non-toxic for consumption.
Improved sanitation was a terminology used by WHO and UNICEF for describing the ‘goal of the millennium’ for water supply and sanitation. Improved sanitation mainly focusses on human waste at the household level, aiming to separate human excreta with human contact. Improved sanitation facilities comprise of ventilated improved pit latrine, pit latrine with slab, composting toilet and flush/ pour flush services.
This includes limiting the spread of diseases by controlling environmental factors. Environment sanitation also includes treatment and management of wastewater and solid waste from households as well as the industries.
On-site sanitation comprises of gathering and handling of wastes where it is dumped by use of different methods and devices.
It must be obvious as to why do we need sanitation, but to scrutinizing a little more, a few more points
Risk of infectious diseases: Feces contain biological pathogens. These pathogens can cause malnutrition, anemia and dehydration. Infectious diseases like cholera and diarrhea spread like wildfire at places with poor sanitation. Pathogens distribute in a community very easily like by touching or through air and dust. They also proliferate in the masses through food and water. Insects and flies also play a major role in its dispersion. These health risks are a major threat to the society. 5 million deaths are caused around the world due to water borne diseases per year.
Threatens ecological balance: All around the world most of the sewage is dumped untreated into the water and causes water pollution. This polluted water threatens marine life. People who depend on these sources of water for drinking are also affected.
Wastewater disposal and management: To prevent wastewater from polluting the environment and pose a health risk, it needs to be treated properly before being let out in the open.
Wastewater can be treated in a wastewater treatment plant or in on-site wastewater treatment systems where access to treatment plants is limited. Large cities and areas mainly have to deal with sewage, which is a type of wastewater contaminated with human excreta and urine. Sewage poses health risks of its own which has to be treated by the municipal corporation before it can be safely disposed.
City wide sanitation is not your responsibility, but sanitation at the household level is. Traditionally we all have depended on strong chemicals to make our bathrooms spotless, but the chemicals itself have harmful effects on our surroundings. So here’s what you can do to go green as well as have proper sanitation at your home:
Green ways to keep your toilet clean
You don’t need bleach to make your toilet spotless. Make a mixture of a spoonful of baking soda and half a cup of vinegar. A 30 minute rest before scrubbing will do the job.
To remove fungus growth and mold, spray vinegar and let it dry. Do it again and wipe it clean. Vinegar kills the bacteria and slackens the particles.
Porcelain tubs and sinks can be cleansed by pouring lemon juice and adding a dash of alum powder.
Bathroom tiles can be cleaned by adding half a cup to a bucket of warm water. Mop using this solution.
Cleaning drains often leave people disgusted. But it can be simply achieved by adding three fourth cup of dry baking soda and half a cup of vinegar. Letting it sit ensues the reaction between the two compounds and breaks down the filth.
Sanitation is a major priority all around the globe and yet it remains a long way from accomplishment. Today we have technologies and special groups to handle the sanitation and manage disposing of the waste in a safe manner and we can only hope the situation get better. Until then it’s up to us to control our household sanitation issue in an eco-friendly way.