Friday, November 23, 2018

Climate change is transforming sewage treatment systems

Sustainability is about connecting the dots, understanding how systems interact. Here’s one way that climate change is driving changes that you might not have thought about: sewage. When Cape Town almost ran out of water, ‘waterless urinals’ surged as a search in Google. How do you flush when you’re running out of water? How do developing nations like India provide better sanitation without expensive centralized wastewater treatment systems? These questions are driving innovation.

Sanitation innovators across the world are developing products based on the principles of the circular economy. The social enterprise Sanivation in Kenya installs container-based toilets in people’s homes for free and charges a small monthly fee to service them. Instead of dumping the toilet "waste", they transform it into a clean-burning alternative to charcoal. These briquettes are not only preferred by their customers due to longer burn time and lesser smoke, but they also save 88 trees for every tonne sold.
The VUNA Project at Eawag in Switzerland has developed an affordable dry sanitation system that produces a valuable fertilizer, promotes entrepreneurship and reduces pollution of water resources. The fertilizer, which is made from human urine, is branded as Aurin and is authorized by the Swiss Federal Office for Agriculture to be used as a fertilizer for every type of plant.

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