The Engineer’s Role in World Toilet Day

The Engineer’s Role in World Toilet Day

This Saturday (November 19th) will be World Toilet Day; the UN-backed project is aiming to raise awareness and inspire action to tackle the global sanitation crisis. It is a crisis where both simple Engineering solutions and large changes to public infrastructure can both make a huge difference and save lives.

The current global sanitation crisis sees avoidable diseases like diarrhoea, caused by poor sanitation and unsafe water, kill 315,000 children every year. Access to sanitation and water treatment must improve in order to turn this situation around.

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How Engineers are playing a role in improving our cities sanitation infrastructure

The infographic below breaks down today’s conventional wastewater treatments and new solutions which Engineers are exploring to improve things in future.

It is important to understand that while sanitation plays a key role in public health policy in the developing world, it is increasingly becoming an issue in the developed world.

Traditional wastewater treatments rely on an old oxidation process that is not efficient, and with water shortages becoming a major issue across the world, Engineers are attempting to develop a new and more effective oxidation process.


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The hope is that environmental engineers will be able to develop new technologies to allow cities to not only treat wastewater more effectively but to reclaim and reuse water in more ways than is currently possible. Attempts are also being made to extract waste energy from sewage streams using microbial fuel cells.

Particularly interesting are developments in Nanotechnology. These have improved membrane filtration systems. MFS’s can drastically reduce dissolved components from waste-water meaning sewage treatment plants are left with less sludge.

Extracting energy from sewage has long been a pipe-dream for Engineers, but developments in microbial fuel cell technology are allowing energy produced when microorganisms consume organic matter to be harvested.

Discover more interesting ways in which Engineering is changing how cities deal with wastewater in the info-graphic below.

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