A Tale of Two Toilets: Profiting from Necessity?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~(((( T h e B u l l e t ))))~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
A Socialist Project e-bulletin ... No. 1737 ... January 10, 2019
___________________________________________________________

A Tale of Two Toilets: Profiting from Necessity?

Judith Deutsch

Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities famously opens with the lines "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness…" Reflecting extremes in wealth and well-being, a number of current publications mirror Dickens: Andrew Levine's "A Tale of Two Cities," Mike Davis’ "A Tale of Two Wildfires," James McAuley's "A Tale of Two Killings," Juan Gonzalez’ Reclaiming Gotham: Bill de Blasio and the Movement to End America's Tale of Two Cities. Nowhere is "a tale of two" more fitting than the world of toilets. Indoor plumbing arrived in the U.S. in the 1840s. Dr. John Snow's treatise on sewage-contaminated... water causing cholera came out in 1855, and A Tale of Two Cities was published in 1859. The current global toilet situation cannot be attributed to lack of knowledge, technology, or resources.

Yet toilets and sanitation remain a global crisis with multiple causes. It is a known and well-documented problem; Mike Davis, in his 2007 book Planet of Slums, has a section "Living in Shit" in which he quotes Frederick Engels: "Over two hundred people shared a single privy" in Manchester. In 2007, ten million people in Kinshasa had no waterborne sewage system, and there were only ten working pit latrines in Kibera for 40,000 people by the end of the 20th century. War and militarization also destroy sanitation infrastructure. In Gaza, Baghdad, Fallujah, Sana’a, power supply is the first thing bombed, wiping out water treatment and sanitation. The Yemen and Haiti cholera epidemics are directly attributable to the military presence. For at least a decade, official agencies have repeatedly warned that Gaza is unlivable because of contaminated water and lethal sewage spills which have caused death.

In 2013, the UN General Assembly designated November 19 as World Toilet Day. On October 1, 2018, the World Health Organization launched its first (!) global guidelines on sanitation and health. At present, the UN puts the number of people living without household toilets at 4.5 billion. Open defecation leaves women particularly vulnerable to rape, and approximately 314,000 children die each year because of poor sanitation. "The transmission of a host of diseases, including cholera, diarrhea, dysentery, hepatitis A, typhoid, and polio, is linked to dirty water and inadequately treated sewage. Poor sanitation is also a major factor in transmission of neglected tropical diseases such as intestinal worms, schistosomiasis and trachoma, as well as contributing to malnutrition," the WHO states.

Continue reading

Share on Facebook

Follow us onr0

Forward to a friend: this link

r39
powered by phpList

Login Form