Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment: “Sanitation: When Toilets Fly”
Kory Russel had an epiphany in an outhouse.
Russel, now a graduate student in civil and environmental engineering at Stanford, was a Peace Corps volunteer in Mozambique in 2006. His bathroom was a small outhouse built over an open pit latrine. In cool weather, cockroaches would swarm up from the depths, and mass into a swarming ball. ‘It was disturbing,’ Russel recalled. The experience got Russel thinking about how he had taken for granted access to piped water for sanitation and other uses.
Around the world, 2.5 billion people lack access to adequate sanitation. In many of the world’s overcrowded urban slums, residents must choose crowded public toilets, open defecation, or expensive private pit latrines that can’t be emptied safely.
To offer an alternative, Russel and fellow civil and environmental engineering graduate student Sebastien Tilmans co-founded an initiative called re.source. Under the guidance of Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering Jenna Davis, the Stanford team is developing portable, affordable dry household toilets and entrepreneurial service models for the developing world. Davis has a dual appointment as Higgins-Magid senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute.
‘The goal is to isolate feces from people,’ Russel said. ‘Then we neutralize that waste so it’s not a hazard anymore, but actually a valuable product.'” -Rob Jordan, Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, March 16, 2015. Read the full article here.
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