On the occasion of the world toilet day organized by the UN on November 19, today we are discussing the reality of health issues around the world and the prospects for toilets that are more respectful of our environment.
Access to sanitation facilities remains a fundamental issue around the world. Globally, more than four billion people today live without safe access to sanitation, (more than 673 million people still practice open defecation) and 40% of the world’s population do not have a facility to wash their hands at home.
This situation greatly contributes to the spread of serious diseases, such as typhoid, cholera and today Covid-19. In this sense, the development of sustainable sanitation systems is one of the major objectives of the United Nations. Human faeces can be a resource that could prove very useful, especially in agriculture.
Wastewater and sludge from toilets contain valuable water, nutrients and energy. NOTur urine, for example, contains many nutrients, such as nitrogen, which can be used to fertilize fields without the need for highly polluting chemical fertilizers.
Potentially, a human being who had a hundred square meters at his disposal could operate in a completely closed circuit. If we reused the urine, we could feed ourselves, without needing external fertilizers.Benjamin Clouet, co-founder and manager of SCOP Ecosec
Our faeces can also be valued. The latter can for example be used in compost, or else be used for the production of biogas, produced by the fermentation of organic matter in the absence of oxygen, and for heating or cooking.
Today, to be able to reuse this waste, it would be necessary to be able to isolate urine and faeces using adapted toilets. This is what succeeded in inventing the SCOP Ecosec. “The basis is separation at the source. That is to say, separate the three flows that we have inside the domestic hearth: the gray water flows (shower, sink, washing machine). dishes, etc.), urine and faeces “, specifies Benjamin Clouet.
Today, a liter of water sent into space costs between 10 and 15,000 euros. Technologies have been developed to filter urine into drinking water, which can be drunk by astronauts. But we can also extract ammonia, which, through a fuel cell, produces electricity!
Stools are stored in containers which burn on contact with the atmosphere. These astronaut toilets should be used for the first manned trip to Mars, by 2030 for NASA. They have already cost 20 million dollars, the equivalent of installing around 200,000 toilets in India.