To mark the start of The International Year of Sanitation (2008), this Earth Report investigates the global sanitation crisis. Conventional sewer systems are not only an expensive way to provide sanitation, they also waste a lot of water and lose all the nutrients in human waste, rather than putting them to productive use. They’re also not an option for 2.5 billion people in mostly developing countries around the world.
Now the UN says it wants to halve the number of people who don’t have access to a toilet within seven years. Earth Report looks at the potential of the dry toilet to close the ecological loop of nutrients and water use, and redefine human waste as a resource.