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July 3rd, 2012:




One of the biggest challenges humanity faces is the handling of human waste, a problem few like to talk about and even fewer want to deal with. But, according to a graphic prepared by Online Nursing Programs, it is of growing importance.

Somewhat inelegantly titled “Poop,” the graphic points out that it takes 13.4 liters of water to flush a toilet. If everyone on the planet flushed just once a day – and it’s probably more like four or five times – it would use 92.7 billion liters of water a day – if everybody used a flush toilet. Everybody doesn’t. Forty percent of the world’s population has no access to sanitary facilities at all. An estimated 1 billion people defecate in the open.

More than 200 million tonnes of human waste – enough to fill 400 oil tankers – go untreated each year. Human waste contains as many as 234 known pathogens. Once they get into the water system that people drink, the results can be deadly: 1.4 million children die each year from diseases caused by contact with fecal matter. That’s more than AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined, and just because there aren’t any toilets. Why is the death toll so high? Because the total amount of untreated fecal matter that is floating around the world is enormous. The resurrected Hong Kong harbour swim could soon become the cross harbour walk.