Toilets save lives because human waste spreads killer diseases. However, 4.5 billion people live without a household toilet that safely disposes of their waste. World Toilet Day is about inspiring action to tackle the global sanitation crisis, and the 2017 theme is wastewater. By 2030, the Sustainable Development Goals aim to reach everyone with sanitation, and halve the proportion of untreated wastewater and increase recycling and safe reuse.
For that to be achieved, we need everyone’s pooh to be contained, transported, treated and disposed of in a safe and sustainable way. Today, for billions of people around the world, sanitation systems are either non-existent or ineffective. Human waste gets out and killer diseases spread, meaning progress in health and child survival is seriously undermined.
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Sanitation innovations at IHE Delft
We realize that present and future water-related problems require out-of-the-box thinking and unusual business approaches. Our innovations are not just of a technological nature; they include new educational programmes and research findings. Improving sanitation facilities and infrastructure is one of our research themes.
Are you interested in learning more about our innovations on sanitation and toilets in particular? We’ve listed three of them below, which we have recently published in the booklet ‘IHE Delft Innovations for Water and Development’. The online version with 60 innovations is available for download on the right side of the page.
The Tiger Worm Toilet
The world is witnessing the highest levels of forced human displacement on record and the length of displacement is increasing. Humanitarian agencies are therefore looking for more sustainable sanitation options for camp settings. One potential solution is the Tiger Worm Toilet, a simple vermifilter: a filter which contains composting worms. The worms convert human waste into worm waste (vermicompost). The human waste is treated in situ leading to a reduction in the volume of solids, reduced emptying frequency and easier emptying (as the byproduct is a dry humus-like material which is generated at the top of the system). This concept has been successfully tested at a household level in urban, rural and camp settings in six countries. The two current projects are developing and testing communal toilets, phased additions of the worms, a new worm species and direct drop systems, in two camps in Ethiopia and Myanmar (Burma).
Location: Ethiopia, Myanmar (Burma)
Contact: Claire Furlong.
Partners: Oxfam (GB), Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
The Shit Killer
Solutions for effective and sustainable faecal sludge management (FSM) represent a significant global need. Tremendous amounts of faecal sludge are produced globally on a daily basis from onsite sanitation: 2.7 billion people worldwide are served by on-site sanitation technologies and that number is expected to grow to 5 billion by 2030. FSM presents a global challenge. A new technological concept for sterilization and dehydration of excreta (faeces and urine) has been developed by IHE Delft and Tehnobiro d.o.o. The technology makes use of microwave generators that are part of a specially designed unit that can convert pathogenic human waste into clean water and inert dry fertilizer. The concept has been successfully tested in the Netherlands and Kenya and a pilot demonstration unit is currently under construction and will be applied in Jordan.
Contact: Tineke Hooijmans
Partner: Tehnobiro d.o.o. (Slovenia)
eSOS® Smart Toilet
In disaster areas where many people live together in poor conditions, diseases are lurking. Sanitation plays an important role – a hole in the ground or overflowing emergency toilets are breeding grounds for bacteria and viruses. If the flow of waste is better managed, the risk will be reduced and the quality of life will improve considerably. To address this issue IHE Delft and partners have envisioned an award-winning eSOS Smart Toilet, one that is not only hygienic, safe and affordable but also serves as a source of information about the situation in the area where it is located. The experimental version of eSOS toilet was successfully tested in the Philippines for functionality and acceptance. This lightweight, easy-to-maintain toilet is equipped with sensors that collect the relevant data using specially designed monitoring software. Based on this information, the operation and maintenance of toilets can be significantly improved making the entire sanitation chain more sustainable. A prototype of the eSOS Smart Toilet is currently being developed and will be tested in Nairobi, Kenya.
Location: Netherlands, Philippines, Kenya
Contact: Damir Brdjanovic
Partners: FLEX Design (Netherlands), SYSTECH.ba (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Sanergy (Kenya)
Education on sanitation at IHE Delft
Our MSc programme in Urban Water and Sanitation educates professionals in the fields of water supply, sanitation and integrated urban engineering, particularly in urban areas. Click here for more information.
GPDP: tailored e-learning opportunity for sanitation professionals
The Graduate Professional Diploma Programme (GPDP) disseminates sanitation and sanitary engineering knowledge to professionals and consists of a sequence of four or five online courses, regular short courses or a combination. The online courses can be followed part-time, without interrupting a daytime career. In order to ensure that the program fits the personal circumstances of the applicant, courses will be selected and a personal study plan designed in collaboration with a study advisor. The total duration of the programme is between 1.5 and 4.5 years.
New MSc Programme in Sanitation
The new MSc Programme in Sanitation will be launched on 23 April 2018. The programme is dedicated to targeting needs and delivering specialists with the necessary qualifications in a short time. The programme is based at IHE Delft in the Netherlands, with thesis work abroad. In the near future, the programme will also be available at universities in Asia, Africa and Latin America.