Delft, The Netherlands, 19 Nov 2013

Meet the smart eSOS toilet on World Toilet Day

During October's IWA Development Congress and Exhibition in Nairobi, Kenya, the concept of the development and design of a smart eSOS toilet was launched at during the Emergency Sanitation workshop. Today, 19 November, is World Toilet Day, the perfect opportunity to introduce this eSOS toilet to the world.

The smart eSOS toilet

The innovative emergency Sanitation Operation System (eSOS) concept provides a sustainable, innovative, holistic and affordable sanitation solution before, during and after disasters. eSOS aims to reinvent (emergency) toilet and treatment facilities, and uses ICT to bring innovations and cost savings to the entire sanitation management chain. This improves the quality of life of people in need during emergency situations - from natural disasters to wars - and minimizes the risk to public health of the most vulnerable members of society. 
 
Emergency toilets have regular requirements making them easily deployable in disaster areas like being robust as well as light-weight. The smart eSOS toilet includes some unique features installed in the research prototype that will shed new light on how the toilets are used. This includes remote-sensing monitoring, an energy supply unit, GSM/GPS sensor/card, occupancy sensors, urine/faeces accumulation sensor, an S.O.S. activation button, and a communication system that allows for data collection by remote sensing and their transferral to an on or off-site emergency coordination center. The data resulting from the use of the toilets will allow the toilets as well as the treatment cycle to be improved. 
 
The eSOS toilet also includes technological innovations from a sanitary engineering perspective. It is a urine diversion toilet with separate collection of urine and faeces, with both dry and wet sanitation options and includes sanitation/germicidal features. Options of both on-site and centralized treatment (and combinations thereof) of urine and faecal sludge are included. The eSOS envisages the use of GPS- (or satellite-) based communication infrastructure like a real-time GPS vehicle tracking system and software, and on-board location-based analysis. This processes data and provides much useful information to the user in the emergency sanitation coordination centre - the brain of eSOS - located either on-site or at any remote location outside the disaster area. 
 
The eSOS concept is developed within the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation financed project ‘SaniUP - Stimulating local innovation on sanitation for the urban poor in sub-Saharan Africa and South-East Asia’. 

World Toilet Day

The World Toilet Organization (WTO) is a global non-profit organization committed to improving toilet and sanitation conditions worldwide. Founded in 2001 with 15 members, it now has 151 member organizations in 53 countries working towards eliminating the toilet taboo and delivering sustainable sanitation. In 2001, the WTO declared its founding day, 19 November, as World Toilet Day. Since then, 19 November has been observed globally by its member organizations. 
 
WTO created World Toilet Day (WTD) to raise global awareness of the struggle 2.6 billion face every day without access to proper, clean sanitation. WTD also brings to the forefront the health, emotional and psychological consequences the poor endure as a result of inadequate sanitation.
 
More background information as well as WTD events happening around the world can be found on the official World Toilet Day website.

UN's General Assembly designates 19 November as World Toilet Day

On the 24th of July 2013, the United Nations General Assembly designated 19 November as World Toilet Day, in a bid to make sanitation for all a global development priority and urging changes in both behaviour and policy on issues ranging from enhancing water management to ending open-air defecation. Adopting a new resolution, the Assembly urged UN Member States and relevant stakeholders to encourage behavioural change and the implementation of policies to increase access to sanitation among the poor, along with a call to end the practice of open-air defecation, which it deemed “extremely harmful” to public health.
 
“This new annual observance will go a long way toward raising awareness about the need for all human beings to have access to sanitation,” said UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson in a statement issued immediately following the Assembly’s action. The resolution also recognizes the role that civil society and non-governmental organizations play in raising awareness of this issue. It also calls on countries to approach sanitation in a much broader context that includes hygiene promotion, the provision of basic sanitation services, and sewerage and wastewater treatment and reuse in the context of integrated water management.

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