> Unfortunately, in many places, it’s not
> feasible to lay down sewer pipes or build
> treatment facilities. [...] But giving
> people access to toilets isn’t enough. You
> also have to persuade them to use the
It showed a Indians in a tiny village who were falling ill because they were literally taking a shit in the same river that they were getting their drinking water from, just a few meters away.
These people all knew each other, and even if they didn't have any toilets or basic infrastructure I would have thought that something as basic as "if you shit where you drink, you get cholera" would be common knowledge anywhere in the world by now.
Of course it would have been nice for those people to have sewer pipes, toilets etc. But in that case the problem could have been solved with a few shovels, and a marked area indicating where you should be going to do your business, preferable in some open field far from the drinking water.
For those people toilets would be nice, but unnecessary. They clearly all have a shared interest in not drinking each other's shit. If by some magic they aren't aware that mixing shit with water leads to bad consequences that seemed to be solvable by some one-time government presentation on the consequences of them keeping doing what they were doing.
But somehow the problem persists, it's unbelievable.
It seems obvious to say "if you drink dirty water you will get sick" but you're assuming that people can make so many connections - what makes it dirty? What makes you sick? What is illness?
In many places there is no connection between 'germs' and illness because germs are not a concrete concept to them.
Though that as a kid, I was educated as to what happens when you drink unclean water or food made at the road side.
There were a lot of educational shows that aired on a channel named Doordarshan. That channel was free and you were able to watch it even without having a cable connection.
The educational/scientific shows aired around 10 AM to 12 PM the time after which most kids started school. So it would happen that I was getting ready for school and learning about all this shit; pun intended.
I never drank water from a shitty source ever again. Never left water in a bucket outside as it leads to creation of mosquitoes etc.
I must admit though, it is not enough. I also remember government officials coming to my grandfather's village where they educated about how mosquitoes are born in stationary water.
I think one of the best thing to do is, give some sort of a portable microscope to these officials, that can let people take the water they drink and observe the microscopic bacteria - or lack thereof - in their water. Even someone who is uneducated or does not know of scientific method will reason with what they see themselves.
Edit: Remove colloquial/useless words and grammar changes.
This is really the subject of the entire book - it's not this simple. There are many factors that are involved in someone accepting a truth that goes against what they already know.
"mmm these pineapple chunks for the fridge taste tingly and slightly alcoholic, did you marinate them in sparkling booze or such?"
"probably just fermented a bit, they're five days old"
There's much more situations like this, food that fell on the ground, or un(der)cooked meat. People that have a firm basic understanding of how germs work, have some pretty irrational beliefs their ability to teleport to the insides of uncut raw-but-seared-on-the-outside muscle tissue. And many will remain queesy about it, even if you teach them.
My point is, you can lead a horse to water but you can't teach it to fish if it wants to keep warm for the rest of its life.
I am reading many of the comments here with a lot amusement. Perfect marriages between the clueless and the patronizing. So many efforts have come and gone: (i)hey you 3rd world person here take this money build a proper toilet, (ii) hey Indian govt here's some aid for toilet for your people, (iii) hey my brother we built these toilets for you, now use them, (iv) govt gave us money to built them so we did it for you... and on and on in so many variations.
There is a strong urge to believe in the narrative: oh the poor souls if only they had access to the toilets that they have yearned for things would be all right. Lets build them for them, lets raise money etc. Yes its true for many people, but it is also very untrue for many.
Just as the a one size cancer cure is silly notion (because cancer is not a single thing) there is no such easy one dimensional cure here either. There is a lot of understanding that needs to take place before this is solved.
Some people break open toilets constructed for free, by the govt or a charity, in their house and sell of the bricks. Why ? because they think a toilet in the house makes it impure and dirty. No worries about that tied cow that shits with gay abandon inside that very house, that is clean holy godmother. Heck the current govt is getting social security cards for cows (I am not kidding). Some will fight tooth and nail for their habit of defecating in the open. They don't see a problem with that. Disease ? what disease, that's just bad karma.
Political parties play into this as well. Right now one party is big into "swachchh(clean) Bharat". A move sorely needed and something I strongly support. But when this same party was not in power, they were big into propaganda: toilets are a 'foreign influence', a 'theft of tradition'. Open defecation has been how it has been done and god almighty in the name of tradition and patriotism that's how it would be. Break free from your toilets if you are a patriot ... etc etc. resist rule by the Italian.
It seems obvious because it is obvious and has been, in India and practically everywhere else, for centuries.
What the parent described is probably due to other external factors (e.g. lack of choice, land restrictions or other things) that constrain behavior.
Edit for further clarity: it's unlikely these people are all "too stupid" to realize what they're doing is not healthy, but that there are other factors making it a (perceived) better choice than others (which may be perceived as worse).
> People understand just fine what "illness" is. Every culture has a long tradition of medical practice since long before anyone knew what a germ was, and people in many civilizations (this isn't some eurocentric western-world thing) have known for hundreds or thousands of years to keep feces away from their food and water.
The germ theory is relatively recent and was not readily accepted in Europe. And for that matter Europe was very late to adopt a theory of keeping faeces away from their food and water.
Traditional Brahmanism in India is extremely fastidious. Sadly by connecting the practices to caste they did not become widespread among others.
Your sense of obviousness is inconsistent with the investigations of history or sociology.
Furthermore trying to tie everything to caste related issues will cause more harm than good, as it is popular and easy to blame a simple demon the truth is often more nuanced.
How true that is, and I agonized over how to word the end of my comment to avoid overstating/ misstating / offending / hitting peoples' hot buttons (pro or con). However I think there's an essential truth somewhere in there, and I chose the word "fastidious" because it is more clear than incorrect (and emotionally laden) words like "better" / "cleaner" etc. In fact "fastidious" can even have some slightly negative implications.
But to be realistic: my Brahmin grandparents and great grandparents (born in 1800s!) & family all lived well into their 90s as long as they survived childhood. My anglo grandparents and great grandparents (also born in 1800s) were lucky to survive childhood and make it to their 50s, much less past that.
The note I was responding to claimed that Europeans had the germ theory and anyone who did something bad for their health was willfully ignorant and stupid.
It's also a cultural thing. Just the other day I was minding my own business on a relatively central street in the European Eastern capital where I live and all of a sudden I see a Roma lady, in her early 50s, reasonably well dressed, coming towards the lightning pole that was on my left side, taking her underwear down and urinating, literally in the middle of the sidewalk, in plain daylight. Before that she had been talking with some acquaintances of her just outside a court-yard, I presume that if she really wanted to she could have asked those people if she could use their toilet.
Public defecation, though, I have no hesitation about shaming someone for unless it's some sort of emergency.
In the UK it is, but my bladder/prostate totally gives up, and in that situation it's a choice between a public place or my trousers.
It wasn't that long ago that Chicago had to raise all their buildings a couple meters, to help keep feces away from the people. And in the next generation had to reverse the course of a river, to keep feces away from their drinking water.
So it's certainly not that ingrained, or not since so long ago, or, as most things in life, easier said than done.
Find out how to explain it in their existing culture. Curses, uncleanness, etc. There's probably SOMETHING responsible for misfortune, death, and disease.
Claim that there is a method which helps battle this, it involves purifying the water with a strong fire for this duration of an hour-glass. Once it is cooled it is, for a short time, safe to use.
Shitting in the river will make you sick, but it's also the low-class thing to do, it's unfashionable, it's unattractive to the opposite sex, it makes you look foolish. Toilets are respectable, they're modern, they're stylish, they're a status symbol. You don't have to invoke superstition to create a taboo.
If you want people to boil their water, just provide subsidised tea and let the addictive properties of caffeine do the work for you.
So, they made iron lumps in the shape of fish (a local good-luck symbol) and handed them out - increased compliance a lot.
But in their case water being boiled was something you did when you were sick. This already had them boiling water for sick people, the sick would get better (to some extent confirming their belief), and they'd go back to cold dirty water.
To help iron deficiency in Cambodians, they were encouraged to cook with iron ingots. No one used them.
So they shaped the ingot into a lotus flower. Dice.
Cultural investigation showed that fish were symbols of luck, health, and happiness. Fish-shaped ingots worked out!
The medical and logistical response to the recent ebola outbreak was astonishingly swift and efficient, but there were clearly major deficiencies in public communication. Perhaps there's an unrecognised need for "Advertisers Without Borders"?
I think it has to be pitched as "outreach".
Does dice tend to mean success in this scenario?
Did they just invent this iron fish to create more jobs?
"Although cast-iron cookware is known to transmit iron to food during cooking, the cost to obtain it is prohibitive for most of the individuals living in poverty in rural Cambodia, who earn less than $1 per day."
In what world would a cast iron pan be cheaper than a small ingot?
Cambodia is a nation of around 15 million people and a large proportion of them are affected by iron deficiency. You are talking about trying to get skillets/ingots into the hands of hundreds of thousands of people, if not millions.
Even cutting the cost of each item by $1 reduces the overall cost to either the organization(s) running the program or the poor people of Cambodia by hundreds of thousands of dollars. The organizations running this program and the poor of Cambodia aren't sitting on an infinite pot of money.
Sure it might be cheaper in Cambodia, then the price of iron pans would be lower as well.
They didn't just use an ingot, they shaped the ingot into a lucky fish, which also costs money.
And the good thing about a fish rather than a pan is you can put it in your soup pan, your wok, your fry-pan, etc. Try putting your cast-iron pan into your wok!
I bet we will be looked at as 'these savage guys were totally dumb, look at them, it's unbelievable' about 50 - 150 years later.
Also, you americans take away your babies from your mothers after few weeks, putting them to a cold hearted institutions, making them frustrated for life? In exchange for what, extra 1 % of GDP from working mothers? That's a pretty bad deal I must say.
Most people in Europe would see this as a barbaric practice, as we know children need a close contact with parents till at least 2.5 years (don't you study developmental psychology there?), and our social systems support that.
(wanted to show that we both are 'those dumb indians' from some more civilized point of view)
> Most people in Europe would see this as a barbaric practice, as we know children need a close contact with parents till at least 2.5 years (don't you study developmental psychology there?), and our social systems support that.
I am from Europe, and have studied developmental psychology, and I can assure you that there is no empirical evidence for your claims of daycare hurting development of children. Quality of parent<>child bonding does not correlate with children's age when entering daycare.
A childs temperament settles after 3 and imo 0-3 is a critical period for bonding with the parent.
I would suggest a healthy mix of some daycare and some stay at home parenting, so the child can better socialize with other children and learn from them, but also grow a secure attachment to their parent and observe the adult world, not just what other children do.
Bowlby's attachment theory ref
Before you get too high and mighty there....
Not long ago (1996) here in the USA, they were still removing all the outhouses that had been positioned directly over fresh-water streams all over Appalachia. See "Straight Piping". 
Its easy to judge poor people in other countries, we forget how recently we were (and maybe still are) making similar mistakes.
 - https://www.arc.gov/magazine/articles.asp?ARTICLE_ID=94
>Although most people with poor systems knew they had problems and wanted to correct them
And also states that most of the problem is due to money (or lack of).
In India even most of those in rural areas with toilets don't use them. 
Further, even in urban areas of those those with access to toilets, 7.5% choose open defecation on the streets instead.
Pretending that people that want indoor plumbing but can't afford it is the same situation as people with access to plumbing but don't use it is very disingenuous.
No one fails to recognize the convenience of indoor plumbing. Running water right in your home is incredibly convenient. With a properly constructed drain system, it means you can also have a completely private place to defecate, indoors, a near-miracle of convenience.
I do not think that this is a fair characterization of the proposal that is being rejected by some in India.
It is possible that you have been inside a public squat toilet in a densely populated rural area, or for that matter even a poorly maintained public squat toilet in a busy urban shopping area.
If so, it probably takes little effort to imagine yourself seriously considering defecation in a ditch, or an alleyway, as an alternative.
If one had already been doing such all one's life, then there would be no obstacle of unfamiliarity, inexperience, or or public shame to discourage you. I do not see why one would not generally prefer to defecate in a familiar and comfortable manner, in the open air, rather than a small, dim room begrimed with the stench and trace faeces of thousands of previous acts of defecation, performed by strangers.
Take the western media's portrayal of India's poverty with a little grain of salt. India is very poor and I lived in a village where people use to shit in open but then there is something like "poverty porn" that western media often engages in to get more eyeballs.
In rural areas open shitting has its own unwritten rules. You shit far from water sources, temples and other places where people gather. You shit away from water wells. Sick people shit in a separate area.
People do shit at riverside because easy availability of water but it is essentially tragedy of commons issue and it was very common to beatup people who took a dump near potable water sources.
They do it for countries ranging from Russia to China to Japan/Korea. The spin - not surprisingly - often matches whatever the current US geopolitical stance is at that point.
What always struck me as strange is that the Romans had and used public toilets, but afterwards Europe went back to shitting in a bucket and throwing it out the window. Puzzling.
I think they went back to using lower-level solutions because of the collapse as
Which about ten years later resulted in the Victorians building over 100 miles of sewers.
See Edward Tufte's take on it too
Not unusual for buildings in Europe or the US built around the turn of the last century either.
These days, they're typically renovated so that there's a wall in between and the bathroom door leads off of an incredibly narrow kitchen, but a hundred years ago, those were in the same room.
(And those were the ones who were lucky, because they actually had a private bathroom).
I have, and will tell you the real reason. It has little to do with literacy or education. It is because (warning, this is going ironic) Indian people are incredibly disgusted about shit and want to not think about dealing with it.
I'm Indian myself. For example, we think toilet paper is a horrible idea. You just clean your shit with...paper...and just leave it like that? That would not fly, even in any of the villages you mention. They have to have water to clean their shit, usually supplied in a small bucket or vessel. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lota_(vessel)
Now think about temperatures. The current temperature at many places in India is more than a 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Your average restroom or shovel pit or whatever is going to smell incredibly bad and be full of flies and a horrible smell. That is why some people prefer the river, and don't use the toilets that are built for them (links elsewhere in this thread).
Solutions? It's a usability problem. Bidets for poop washing that can be filled up instead of using piped water, super hydrophobic coatings, really large pits (so you don't smell the waste) –- things like that are going to be the solution. Unfortunately, no one approaches it in that way, and prefers to go the route of "Let's teach these uneducated savages not to shit where they eat." This is very unfortunate and I hope it will change in the future.
In places like Haridwar one gets screamed at for as little as putting the footwear in the stream.
Then again there are sewer dumping into Ganga all over the place (though this was/is being challenged) - starting in fact from a few hundred meters down from Hari ki Paudi.
I don't know.
Since Indian literature (and with it the languages) have essentially become comatose, perhaps the country has lost all ability to make logical deductions , that'd be necessary for any level of consistency.
 No, I know Sanskrit deals very much with logic and reasoning and grammar. I don't see so much as a vestige today, however. May be since it was/is practiced by a tiny minority that may not be all the surprising.
Many things that are obvious to now are not obvious unless we are rightly educated. You might like to read http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/01/12/37566392... which believe it or not is not even 150 years old.
Also, beer provides large amounts of calories, so it also feeds the consumer with low risk of the "food" getting stale. There's a reason why in Bavaria a fat belly is called a "Bierbauch" ;)
No one wants to drink water where someone shit but everyone would rather shit in the water than in a field somewhere far and away from the ability to clean oneself.
Humans are creatures of habit, and often, self interest (a clean arse) will win over benefits to others (see all politics ever, almost)
I'm more understanding when it comes to the lack of basic sanitation facilities, but lack of education is inexcusable in this day and age!
Only drinking hot drinks also helped China's health. Fernand Braudel, in The Structures of Everyday Life, discusses this in passing; even 17th-century observers felt that it would be better for the Spanish colonials to adopt Chinese practice in the Philippines rather than keeping their custom of drinking everything iced. (Where did they get the ice?) Braudel also mentions a case where St. Francis Xavier drank a cup of cold water, to the horror of his Chinese entourage, who warned him not to keep up such a dangerous practice...
That is a fantastic question ...
Many different cities around the world have an "icehouse" street - the origin of the name being obvious. However, I know of an "icehouse" street in Hong Kong and I always wonder "when the icehouse was here, and this street was named for it, where in the world were they getting ice?"
I know you can pack ice in sawdust and straw, etc., and keep it for the summer, but Hong Kong is a very, very long journey from anywhere that freezes in the winter ... where were they bringing ice from ?
Can any Filipino reader comment on whether snow ever falls there? I didn't see any snowcaps on Google Satellite View, but that's not the best of sources...
Many East Asians to this day still believe that hot water is better for your health, even when filtered water is cheap and plentiful. If you ask for water at a restaurant it will inevitably be warm. I've had people express concern when drinking cold water during the winter, or when I'm sick.
In much of Europe the preferred way of doing that was indeed to use alcohol, but in more than one form. Beer's usage, compared to other alcoholic beverages, was higher only in germanic and western slavic regions (like Czech). The french, the spanish, greeks, romanians, and maybe others in the Balkan Peninsula, preferred wine. Eastern slavic and northern Europe had their vodka-like beverages. Europe is not only Germany, mind you!
It seems to be common enough: https://www.quora.com/Chinese-Etiquette-and-Behavior-Is-poop...
Better than doing it in one's own drinking water, but I think what saves the Chinese is not education, but a tradition of cooking absolutely everything (see sibling posts).
In downtown Shanghai I got to watch a mother walk out of her business holding her child, have the child crap on the sidewalk (while being held in the mothers' arms), and then brought back inside. This was not a baby. The kid looked about 3-4 years old.
This goes on in subway stations as well. The parent has the kid sit on the edge of a garbage can and crap into it.
If you go you'll see the children commonly wear these lower garments with the whole groin area open. It's so the child can squat and pee or poo anywhere without needing adult attention. The child is taken to public parts in the city and around downtown like this.
Chinese public conscientiousness is far below anything you can imagine until you experience it.
A strong agrarian tradition where no piece of human waste is going to be left festering in the sun - somebody is going to pick it up and make good use of it. In all seriousness this has been the case until chemical fertilisers became cheap enough, before then every town had organised dung-gatherer guilds who organised daily cleanup of faeces in the street and sold the product to the farmers in rural areas. Even urine-soaked earth dug up in alleys can be sold as a source of nitrates.
A second and more ingrained reason is that young children are regarded to only have the intelligence of animals because you cannot reason with them like how pre-Christianity Romans thought, thus they are to be treated with the same level of respect that animals deserve: if kids want to relieve themselves, then it might as well happen on the spot because self-control is beyond their facilities.
Shanghai is also unusual among major Chinese cities that many households in the old town are not serviced by sewage lines. Instead everybody bought their nightly waste to public septic tanks and pour it down a chute before a vacumm truck takes the load away every few weeks. Thus the residents are typically less fazed at the sight of faecal matter than their compatriots.
I'd say it's more to do with development than anything else.
Having been to Taipei several times myself, I'd say that it is no better or worse than any Asian city. but that's really just prejudice. I will concede, however, that Taiwan had the value of hygiene worked into them during the Japanese rule. In the first ten years of the 20th century, there was 49 newspaper reports of public urination leading to a formal warning by the police in Taihoku alone (ironically, more than half of these high-profile cases were perpetuated by Japanese), and public record shows that thousands of people of all sorts of background were fined every year for the same offense that did not make it to the news. This really goes to show that the colonial government took the concept of hygiene very seriously, but even today some people will just do as they please.
: https://books.google.com/books?id=AKi5Wm5Mu_UC, page 27
Do you have any other info on the second point?
In short, Confucian scholars view personhood not as something gifted at conception or birth, but a learned virtue that develops progressively as each person lives through different stages of their lives. Thus rearing young children is not unlike taming a wild animal and a lot of nasty things kids do can be forgiven on the basis that they have not learned the proper way to act yet.
The ugly side of this thinking is that this naturally restricts youth rights since they are saw as an extension of the will of their parents; indeed one can argue that children are never fully independent until the death of their parents absolves them of these control and responsibilities. On the other hand, Confucianism has always been ambivalent if not indifferent to topics very touchy in the Judeo-Christian tradition such as abortion and infanticide, because the victims have not had a chance to develop their personhood yet, and thus these acts are sometimes considered deplorable but never compared to murder.
The basics are lots of elbow grease, and continuous application of river silt and (aged?) animal and human sewage.
It occurs to me that this book predates both industrialization (factory effluent) and the last cholera outbreaks. Which makes me wonder what sort of sweeping agricultural practice changes came in subsequent decades.
The term of art in the West is "anthroponics". A related subreddit  seems to currently focus upon using human urine in agriculture (with some really fascinating results of using watermelon seeds to sterilize the urine). Human feces given to black soldier flies and feeding their larvae to chickens and tilapia as a high-protein supplement might be more workable and timely than turning then feces into compost, and if scalable it could add a lot of new capacity to developed world sewer systems.
Reprinted by Dover in 2004
But they do much worse. Things like dumping toxic industrial waste that can make a whole region of people chronically ill to a river..Or drive machines that spew toxic gases literally to the face of fellow human beings..
I mean, is anyone really any better?
However, pet rats might not be a good example here. This might be anecdata, but my girls would eat, shit, and sleep in the litter box. I had to buy grated ferret litter boxes to keep one from getting sick. She got E.Coli from sleeping in the litter box, and it presented as a URI. Talking with other rat owners, this wasn't uncommon behavior either.
I am originally from India(now I live in US) and my grandfather who was a doctor in India back then in the 1950s would advise people who often fell ill to eat healthy and eat apple. People would ask him what Apple was and to describe it so that they can buy it in the market. My dad who also turned out to be a doctor said he didnt meet any patients who didnt know what Apple was...so yes, things change...but they take time.
India is currently the #5 grower of apples worldwide at 2.2 Tg. The US is #2, with 4.1 Tg. China is #1 with 37 Tg. Apple cultivation in India is in the northernmost states Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Arunachal Pradesh.
"An apple a day keeps the doctor away" possibly originated in 1866, in Pembrokeshire, Wales, with the current phrasing stabilizing in the 1920s. Previous expressions extolling the health virtues of apples also exist, but cannot be verifiably linked to later expressions. We don't actually know whether that expression derives from a mention in Ayurvedic medicine that is 1500 years old.
If you doubt, do research. Indians have been eating apples for centuries before Americans started growing them.
I live in the UK, and as I age, I seem to be loosing control of certain physical faculties. And we have a distinct lack of public toilets, which is ridiculous. You need toilets dotted everywhere which you are comfortable using.
In very highly populated areas using water as a transport has been somewhat miraculous. But it's not always appropriate. Recycling waste locally is probably a good idea where you can.
Night soil sounds primitive, but is pretty neat. Problems arise when raw sewage comes into contact with foods etc. Composting sewage, delays usage, but removes health risks and improves the resulting output.
I actually resent flushing my own turds down the toilet when my garden really could do with the input. But when two thirds of my water bill is for waste, you think twice about constructing alternatives.
>> "With a number of courtyard houses having both a washing platform and a dedicated toilet / waste disposal hole. The toilet holes would be flushed by emptying a jar of water, drawn from the house's central well, through a clay brick pipe and into a shared brick drain" 
Amazing. This was about the Indus Valley Civilization in 3300–1300 BCE.
It's interesting to note that how much a civilization, like Rome after the collapse as shown in the below thread, can lose much of cultural or technical advances it made earlier.
There are millions of links on this problem, here is one.
It is a surprisingly hard nut to crack, sometimes even among literate educated people. If it weren't a lot of religious extremism and bigotry would not exist.
Solve those, and the toilet problem will disappear by itself.
And these aren't Indians from a rural indian village.
So, all the water used in the house, from the toilets, sinks, etc. is collected via PVC pipe and fed into the septic tank. The water from the septic tank flows into a "drain field" in the back yard.
With the septic tank, there
was only one problem only once: I had an infection on the edge of the nail on my left big toe and daily applied triple antibiotic cream (eventually cleared up the infection). Soon I had water, etc. bubbling up near the back of the back yard.
Why? The antibiotic cream was powerful stuff; some of it got on my socks; when I washed the socks in the washing machine, some of the cream got into the septic tank and basically killed off the crucial bacteria that was eating everything not just H2O (right, and creating CO2 and methane which bubbled out, rarely noticeable).
Solution? Sure, the grocery store sells a box of little, dry granules. So, flush about half of the box down any one of the toilets. Then the bacteria in the septic tank are alive and working again; the spot in the backyard dried up again, and no more problems!
Just need a septic tank, a little PVC pipe, and no sewer pipe or sewer treatment plant, etc.
For water, nope, I get nothing from the city. Instead I have a well. Well, the septic tank is in the back yard and the well, in the front yard -- not sure that makes much difference since the well is deep enough, likely 100+ feet, not to use "surface water".
So, how do I get "pure water"? Hmm. Running out of a faucet or standing in a glass, the water looks fine. Eventually discover that the water is saturated with calcium carbonate, that is, limestone, if you will, marble. Why? Down there, maybe 100 feet, where the water comes from, there are some old, dead sea shells, however many hundreds of millions of years old.
Otherwise I have a filter in the line: The filter is a tube about one foot long and 3 inches in diameter and made from some kind of foam or a lot of string wrapped tightly. My hardware store sells these for not very much, and they have several varieties that filter out everything down to some number of microns, different number for different varieties. One filter lasts for over a year.
No evidence of disease in or from the water.
Yes, the calcium carbonate ruined the dishwasher, so I wash dishes in the sink and dry them a traditional dish drain rack. I have the rack on a plastic base designed for that purpose, tilted, and set in an aluminum tray to catch the runoff water.
So, after some months I can notice that, while the dishes dry nicely and look just squeaky clean, from all the water that ran into the aluminum tray and evaporated, some mud was left behind. So, the water seems to have calcium carbonate plus some additional dissolved solids that, after enough water has evaporated, look like mud. Or for all I know, the "mud" is left over dish detergent? Naw, I suspect the mud is dissolved solids. Maybe if I used a finer filter I would get less mud, but I doubt it.
But the mud is doing me no harm. The usual remark from the local plumbers is that the water is safe to drink, won't hurt you.
On the calcium carbonate in the water, yes I could use a water softener. Actually, I have one. To use it, have to buy big bags, maybe 40 pounds each, of rock salt, that is NaCl. The softener takes the water and converts the calcium carbonate to calcium chloride which is more soluable (doesn't settle out on hot water pipes), doesn't create the scum with old style soap does with calcium carbonate, and feels soapy or slippery in the water. For the chloride in the calcium chloride, that comes from the salt, the NaCl. For the carbonate from the calcium carbonate, that goes out the drain as sodium carbonate. The water softener has a big barrel with ion exchange resins, little beads that, when flushed with water with a high concentration of NaCl, grab some of the Cl. Then when flushed with water with calcium carbonate grab the carbonate and replace it with the chloride, thus converting the incoming calcium carbonate to calcium chloride. But the big tank with the beads gave trouble; I paid to have the tank serviced, etc. And the automatic unit with that tank that flushed the beads with salt water, from the big barrel of salt from the big bags of salt, gave trouble. So, I pushed a big red button that had the water bypass the softener and unplugged the softener control unit from the wall A/C power. So much for the water softener.
Also, it does appear that calcium chloride from the softener can corrode the solder used in the copper pipes -- bummer.
For the calcium carbonate, it is a curious chemical since hot water dissolves less of it than cold water, the opposite of most solids. So, when the water is heated in the hot water coils of my furnace [here I'm talking about the coils for the domestic hot water and not the hot water for heating the house], the calcium carbonate settles out on the inside of the coils and after six months or so lowers the flow rate of the domestic hot water.
So, I went shopping and got a length of copper water pipe, the tools to work with copper water pipe, some shutoff valves, some faucet valves, some connection fittings, some lengths of garden hose with fittings and intended as supply and drain hoses for a washing machine, a drill pump with connections for garden hoses, some plastic cups, a plastic bucket, a gallon bottle of muriatic acid, and a big, several pound size, bag of baking soda.
So, I used the tools and the copper pipe to install the faucet and shutoff valves at appropriate places in the copper pipes leading to and from the domestic hot water coils of the furnace and attached garden hoses to the faucet valves. Then one of the garden hoses goes to one side of the drill pump, and a hose from the pump and another hose from the faucets go to the bucket.
So, using the valves, I run some water into the bucket, nearly fill the bucket. Using an old 1/4" electric drill, I turn on the drill pump and get water flowing from the bucket, into the coils, and back to the bucket. I put one of the little copper pipe fittings, a right angle elbow, in the bucket.
Then I pour about 4 ounces of the muriatic acid into one of the plastic cups, maybe the same cups apparently so popular at college frat parties or on Spring Break, and pour that acid into the bucket. Soon I get, sure CO2 bubbles in the bucket. Also, right, review high school chemistry, I get some calcium chloride in the bucket. Why? Secret: Muriatic acid is hydrochloric acid, that is, HCl, about 28%. In the residential construction industry, the acid is commonly used to remove, right, lime from concrete off bricks. It also nearly instantly removes lime from the inside of copper pipes.
When the rate of the bubbles slows down, I add another 4 ounces of muriatic acid to the water and observe that the rate of bubbles does not increase again. Guess: All the calcium carbonate is out of the copper pipes. Then I add maybe one teaspoon of the baking soda to the water and observe that I get bubbles: Guess: There is still plenty of hydrochloric acid in the water. So, conclusion: The domestic hot water pipes in the furnace are clean.
Then I turn off the drill pump, place the ends of the hoses that were in the bucket in a plastic tray intended for kitty litter, remove the little copper elbow from the bucket, carry the bucket to the back yard, and throw the water with the acid in a wide sweep onto the grass (I never see any effect on the grass).
I look at the little copper elbow for evidence that my use of the hydrochloric acid is corroding the copper pipe -- so far I have seen no such evidence. Actually, inside the furnace, the coil for domestic hot water is lined with Teflon so that calcium carbonate will be less likely to stick; no doubt the Teflon would also protect that pipe from the acid.
Back in the house with the bucket, I insert the hoses into the bucket again, use the valves to fill the bucket nearly full again, adjust the valves, turn on the drill pump, and get water flowing again from the bucket to the coils and back.
Then I add to the water in the bucket baking soda, about 1/2 cup at a time, until there are no more bubbles. Then I add another 1/2 cup of baking soda to the water to be more sure.
Then, doing the right things with the drill pump, valves, and hoses again, I dump the water in the bucket again, fill the bucket again, use the drill pump to circulate relatively fresh water, turn off the drill pump, set the valves back for ordinary use, and again dump out the water in the bucket.
At the kitchen sink, I let the hot water run for a while to be more sure I've removed all the hydrochloric acid or baking soda from the water, and declare the project done -- lots of hot water flow rate now for months!
Of course, I don't have a wife and six daughters in the house with each of them each day taking three baths, washing six changes of clothes, and washing their hair!
But, still, I have no city water, no city sewer, no sewer pipe, and no big problems.
Sure, when my startup is successful, I will look into getting, say, reverse osmosis to give me domestic hot/cold water that is much closer to pure, distilled water, that is, just good, old H2O and nothing else.
But for India, in a place rural enough to permit the women to walk to the woods at night and use the woods as a toilet, septic tanks and wells should be a really big step up and solution to the problem.
About India, I've long suspected that such really bad aspects of their living conditions have been so common, even standard, for so long that they have long since just accepted that living like that is okay with little or no desire or effort to do anything about it.
With septic tanks you run into many more maintenance issues with things like clogging, overflowing, cleaning, etc. Not to mention this cost is borne onto the homeowner and not the municipality.
There's also persistent groundwater issues. Even if you have good soil permeability and aren't impacting an aquifer, multiple septic systems can really start causing environmental harm on surrounding waterbodies.
For many people, having sewerage isn't an option, but there's a good reason many municipalities are investing millions into moving their residents off of septic systems.
When I was in grad school, my office was across the hall from Abel Wolman.
What gases? Glad you asked!
Mostly natural gas that is in the water. This is especially important for people with a water well who live in an area where fracking is done. w/o the settling tank you may find that your faucet, while open, can sustain a significant flame.
But the main idea of a septic tank is to have the bacteria eat everything objectionable, give off CO2 and methane,
leave a little sludge (after 20+ years, I've never had the septic tank cleaned), and those are also the main ideas for sewage treatment if have big sewer pipes, bring all that stuff to a central location, and treat it there.
As far as I can tell, what runs into the drain field in my backyard is just harmless. It doesn't even make the grass grow faster than elsewhere. The back boundary of my backyard is a small stream; it only has water flow from melted snow or heavy rains; and I've never seen any evidence that my drain field or those of any of the neighbors generates any flow in the stream.
All the houses in my area, at least 25 square miles, have such septic tanks, and I nearly never get any whiffs of methane or anything else.
So, for your question, sure, with somewhat higher population density, just do a little more with septic tanks. Even with the population density of NYC, in the end the crucial step is some bacteria eating the rest just as in my septic tank.
The NYS building codes for houses are careful to specify what is needed for a septic system, especially about what has to be in the drain field. In some cases, suitable soil has to be trucked in as part of building a suitable drain field.
As far as I can tell, the water from my septic tank just goes into the soil just like melted snow or rain water. Maybe the best view of what, besides just pure water, my septic tank is adding to the soil is, in a word, more soil!
Isn't that the main idea behind wastewater treatment everywhere anyway already? See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sewage_treatment and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wastewater_treatment
Also compare Tree bogs (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tree_bog) which is about not mixing water and human waste in the first place. Human waste can go directly on a compost heap, and the rest of the water is easier to treat.
Sure. And on this point I wrote:
> Even with the population density of NYC, in the end the crucial step is some bacteria eating the rest just as in my septic tank.
There are 640 acres per square mile. In the 25 or so square miles around where I live, there are maybe 4 people per house with one house per acre for
4 * 640 = 2,560
The land area of the US is about 3.797 million square miles. Since the land area of India is 1/3rd of that, the land area of India is about
3.797/3 = 1.266
Since the population of India is 1.3 billion people, the population density in India is about
1.3 * 10**9 /
(1.266 * 10**6)
That would be the population density everywhere in India if the density were uniform. In that case, septic tanks would work for all of India much like they work for all the people within a few miles of me.
But likely the population density of India is not uniform which means that some areas of India have population density less than
For people in India who walk out at night to use the woods as a toilet, as in the OP, then if only from the woods there should be land area for those people to use septic tanks.
I'm not suggesting septic tanks for Mumbai or New York City.
Hmm .... On second thought, given my view of New York City, maybe I'd like to see everyone there using septic tanks, especially all using the same tank, a small one!
Naw, then too many of them would want to live in my neighborhood -- no thanks; I like my current neighbors!
In this case big kudos goes to Narendra Modi and the Indian govt to ensure this happens. I believe such fundamental things are the most effective when govt pushes for it rather than individuals.
But yes, it does help immensely when the country's leader declares it as a top priority.
You need both for humanity to progress.
Back to the topic: I agree with you. I think people underestimate, especially in the current Trumpist/Brexitist/etc. climate, the long term impact that lifting ~4 billion people out of poverty will have. By 4 billion people I mean China, India, Africa.
China's probably 20 years away from having 30% of the world's middle class in their country. India will probably follow the same trajectory, only with a 40 year delay. Africa is lagging but even there things seem to be moving and my money's on things accelerating as soon as they get some strong regional poles. Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia seem strong contenders.
To say that the effect of Gates's work will be to merely bring more people along for the ride instead of getting left behind as the original commenter stated is not understanding the full effect of his work. Gates is accelerating the ride.
Thought experiment: how fast do you think our scientific knowledge would advance if 90% of the US were living in poverty and spent most of their day simply figuring out how to survive?
However the most significant scientific discoveries seem to come from the top of the pile. You need to be in the right place and time with the right background to make the right connections that reveal a previously hidden truth.
Science is about seeing something that's staring you in the face but nobody has even noticed before. That generally can't be farmed out.
So it's a long road from poverty to understanding to discovering something really new.
Edit:- read the article.thanks...
Sure does. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2002_Gujarat_riots
>> "In 2012, Modi was cleared of complicity in the violence by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) appointed by the Supreme Court of India. The SIT also rejected claims that the state government had not done enough to prevent the riots."
>> "In April 2014, the Supreme Court expressed satisfaction over the SIT's investigations in nine cases related to the violence, and rejected as "baseless" a plea contesting the SIT report."
People who want to do "good" to boost their (and their nations') egos are rather dangerous. When you fight a war for "righteousness" rather than greed, you're one awful enemy to have.
Then again, Steve was a Zen student. No surprises there.
It's the same psychology involved in pollution and climate change. Because people don't see an immediate reaction to for instance plastic-pollution, it's harder to get them to understand the serious effects that it is having.
This is going to take a long time but they're actually doing a pretty good job at installing toilets that's for sure.
That might help with some of the habit changes required. Just give people exactly what they are asking for.
That's true for modern humans too -- without the phone, they can't build up the pressure.
So the basic problem is Indian toilet tech and the whole process has not been evolved. In Western world and especially places like Japan, there are lots of people working on innovations in this area and things keep improving. In India, this area is considered to be assigned to lowest members of social cast system and thinking about it or working on it by intellectuals is considered taboo.
There could be many older men for example keen to have a sense of purpose, doing a task they're capable of and staying active, rather than putting in 40+ hours/week at a desk.
If people want toilets, they can spend some free time to dig a big pit in a nearby yard, and it will be more sanitary than their current situation. Ultimately the two go hand in hand (toilets and education) but education without toilets is a problem that solves itself, while toilets without education is doomed to fail.
Anyway, the original comment here, "this has nothing to do with toilets", still doesn't make sense. High literacy states aren't clean because of education, they are clean and educated because they aren't poor. And we all agree that education and toilets go hand in hand, the article addresses this. All I was responding to was the idea that toilets are irrelevant, which is ridiculous.
Yes, exactly! Do you know what "smart" (or rather, appropriately educated, which higher literacy helps) people can do? They can build things. They can design systems more complex than the default "shit -> river" and execute them. And have them working for years.
So yes, education is the problem. There are many DIY solutions people could use for themselves, on a small, local scale, if they had access to the information on how to do them. On a larger scale, say of a village, there are many infrastructural projects which could be done with just several people and a bit of knowledge. And everything above that is what governments specialize in.
Giving people toilets will solve nothing. Even if they will use them for a bit, they will shortly turn into smelly shitholes, worse than outdoors by far.
Instead, if they build the toilets themselves, there is a higher chance for them to maintain them. And they could be building their own toilets right now if not for illiteracy and lack of any education.
I know there are other problems: economical situation, ingrained traditions and so on. But education is the only way of battling these problems as well.
... unfortunately San Francisco is losing that same war.
Perhaps you'd like to show me the stats that indicate a million people (or even how about 2.5% - ~100k people) in the San Francisco metro area have begun shitting in the streets, in their drinking water, etc.
Gotta accept a bit of poop in your life.
> Record numbers of coyotes have moved into the city in recent years.
on the other hand the only times I've managed to step in human feces is DT SF and DT Vancouver..
India was one of the first countries in the world to emphasize regular bathing -- this was thousands of years ago, even the kings among the Europeans started bathing daily fewer than 300 years ago. We need to get hygiene country-wide to the world standards it created.
1. Keeping the toilet in home, this is no issue(99% of my village is fine with it)but having exhaust and running it is still an issue
2. Running water with pipe , if you ask a must if you need good toilet. A big issue for 6 months in our village so able people built storage tank , pump up water when water comes in pipe from village tank but for the ones who keep in vessels , it is big issue
3. Space for septic tank, in many plots house is built on full land available to them so no more space for septic tank
4. Last but not least, if you have issue septic there is not a possibility to clean like in city using that special lorry that come with pump and tank
If govt can do something about 2/3/4 then it is possible to have more toilets.
As someone else noted in another thread, toilet maintenance and water availability continue to remain a very real problem.
The dashboard data reflects only the number of new toilets being built (and their corresponding 'expected' coverage). This doesn't take into account how many of them are actually being used as toilets.
In some districts in Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, less than 1 out of 15 households actually use the newly built toilets. Elsewhere, they have already been converted into mini-grocery stores and storage facilities. All these instances are being conveniently ignored.
Also, it helps if you look at the Congo and Europe during WW2. The same chaos, the same refugee rows, the same anarchy and murdering. Noting is written in stone.
There are no atheists in foxholes.
This is just a thing that people say that doesn't stand up to even cursory scrutiny.