New technology needed to flush toilets

As humans we will soon be left with a simple yet strange choice of whether we keep water for drinking or flushing down unwanted human waste, says the writer.
As humans we will soon be left with a simple yet strange choice of whether we keep water for drinking or flushing down unwanted human waste, says the writer.
Image: 123RF/Maitree Laipitaksin

For many decades, human beings have become accustomed to waterborne toilets where one simple flick of a handle eradicates problems of stench and excretion. It takes about six litres of water to flush down the waste at a swift speed.

One does not encounter the stench again but will re-live it when passing by spewing manholes. It is unfortunate that the six litres of water used to flush down the faeces also goes down the sewage system.

As our population grows so does the demand for water. As humans we will soon be left with a simple yet strange choice of whether we keep water for drinking or flushing down unwanted human waste.

Despite the modern use of the waterborne system, “long drop” toilets and the bucket system are still in use. As a result, waterborne sanitation systems have been the solution for many households for many decades.

However, the department of water and sanitation is working with the Water Research Commission and department of science and technology to find alternative sanitation solutions.

Some of these solutions might minimise or even exclude the use of water completely. It is however up to us to accept these as alternatives and embrace new technologies like we have been doing since the dawn of evolution. The evolving technology has enabled things to be done differently.

Phone use used to be big but is now small, we used to ride horses but now we drive vehicles. People no longer get lost because we now rely heavily on satellite navigation.

Therefore, we have to eventually get accustomed to new technologies of waterless toilets or else we will be left with no water to consume or use for other purposes.

Larry Crisp
Free State d
epartment of water and sanitation

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