The world beyond 2015

The Nano Membrane Toilet: a sanitation solution for low income urban areas

Dr Alison Parker, Cranfield University, UK
Posted on 28/07/2014

A staggering 2.5 billion people on this planet still lack access to improved sanitation – they have nowhere safe to go to the toilet. They might have to defecate in the bush which is hardly safe for lone women. They might have to defecate in a plastic bag which they throw with their other rubbish which itself may not be collected regularly. They might have to share a toilet with hundreds of others who together leave it in an unhygienic condition.

In rural areas people can build simple pit latrines and install a hygienic slab on top which keep it safe. When the pit fills up they just cover it up and dig a new one elsewhere. But in urban areas where people live crowded together, this is not an option. In many unplanned settlements and even in some planned ones there are no sewer pipes to take the waste away. There may not even be piped water or electricity either. In these situations sanitation is really challenging.

This is why a team at Cranfield University is developing the Nano Membrane Toilet which will be able to treat human waste on-site without external energy or water, allowing it to be safely transported away and potentially reused. Watch the video to understand how the toilet will work.

Tags: Research, Capacity building, Problem-solving, Societal needs, Health, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

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