Many systems in the world today seem to run like clockwork. From public transit down to your toilet, the systems that engineers have put in place seem to work. Whole cities stay in a blissful ignorance to the workings that go on beneath them in the sewers. Dumpsites are covered by rolling hills, and often the only indicator of waste management problems is a horrid smell. These sorts of things cause people to question the state of the environment, especially when problems erupt unexpectedly.
Everyone has a home, but few people stop to think about all of the functions and effects their home has on the environment. From the chemicals sprayed on insects, to the water that falls on the vegetable garden, the home is a delicate system. The most important element that impacts not only the environment, but energy use, are the means by which the family removes human waste from the home- the toilet. Flushing the toilet multiple times a day is routine, and most of the time not a second thought is given to where the waste goes after it is flushed, or how much water the toilet requires to refill and function. This innocuous part of the home is mostly underground, but it is paramount to the health of the land and the family that lives there. Open sewage can seriously harm humans through disease, so it is a serious matter when waste is not disposed of properly. Surprisingly, even if the ground above your septic tanks looks normal, if it is “too green,” it may signal a massive problem! With all of these issues, it is easy to see why people have attempted to come up with alternatives to the current waste engineering systems for homes. With energy conservation in mind, many have used science to help turn waste back into a useable fuel. With so many people starving, a conversion method to a substance which can be used to cook with is a wonderful idea.
Even though this technology hasn’t caught on yet, it is an option to sustain the environment longer and reuse energy. These green, sustainable options are proof that science has a capability to give other ways to save the environment. Human waste is a huge issue for many cities and spaces, especially in third world countries where modern technology is not available. Toilet paper and fresh water can be hard to find as well in some places, so bacteria and infection through environmental contact with human waste is very common. There is little these people can do once they are infected, and it is sad that they suffer because of improper sewage planning. Communal toilets in these countries can be breeding grounds for disease and environmental mayhem. When humans are in close quarters, it exacerbates these issues and humanitarian efforts need to be made. Sometimes the villages need to be educated not just on how, but why they need to dispose of human waste safely. The importance of knowing what to do with waste is one of the great human problems of today.