So You Think Your Sh&! Don’t Stink?


Poop. It’s a visceral thing. Poop reminds us of our past, the things we’ve done, eaten, drank and swallowed. In its presence our present is in its hands.  It is in this spirit that those of high mind are constantly searching for the perfect poop.

Why?

Reinvent-the-Toilet

Poop is an important part of health and affects your beauty, as everything in your body works as an interrelated system. One of the fundamental tenets of the Poop is that we’re all brothers and sisters under the tyranny of the colon. Our social hierarchies are all false, when it really boils down to it, all pretense of class and power fades under the fact that your poop stinks just as bad as the next guy.

We don’t generally discuss it in our daily conversations. And, while most people probably don’t want to put much thought into pooping, it’s an essential body function that can tell them if something is wrong.

With every baby that is born assuming all systems are in working order, that baby will also create its first output that same day, in the form — to put it delicately — of a dirty diaper.

That dirty diaper is only the tip of an iceberg of human manure produced around the globe every day. It might seem a reasonable question to ask how humanity will deal with this output of feces as the world’s population creeps toward 10 billion by 2100. But that question presumes we have the poop problem under control now. Here’s the bad news: We don’t.

We’d be awfully big and mighty uncomfortable if we had to carry around all the used food we ever had. The body can’t convert to energy every last molecule that it consumes. Also, there is the waste from dead cells that are constantly being produced.

Americans weren’t the first to use euphemisms to refer to the toilet. The toilet and/or the “outhouse” have at one time or another been called the “House of the Morning” (by the ancient Egyptians), the “garderobe” (literally, “cloakroom”), the “necessarium”, the “necessary house”, the “privy” (that is, the “private place”), the “jakes”, the “john”, the “W.C.” (for “water closet”), “Room 100” (in Europe), the “lavatory”, the “closet”, the “boys’ room”, the “girls’ room”, the “mens’ room”, the “ladies’ room”; and many other terms.

Actually, there is no “real” word for the place where one deposits one’s bodily wastes. “Toilet”, which is now thought of as the “official” term, is itself a euphemism.

Before the introduction of modem methods of sewage disposal sanitation was a major problem for all sedentary cultures. The improper treatment of human waste could lead to disease, foul odors and a generally unpleasant environment. Therefore all shared a common need to create a system for the proper disposal of human waste. Although the effects of human waste on health were noted in the past, this was not the number one priority for cities. The major problem that cities desired to alleviate was the filthy sight and obnoxious odor that emanated from human waste.

Modern flush toilets have revolutionized the way humans live, yet are given minimal acknowledgment for their contributions to society. A move towards managing human waste began at least as early as the Mesopotamian civilization, and since then, toilet technology has evolved in conjunction with social and technological trends. By providing a means of maintaining sanitation in densely populated areas, present-day gravity-fed toilets have played a fundamental role in the development of urban centers around the world. The engineers who contributed to flush toilet technology harnessed the power of nature in an elegant, clever, and functional manner. Taking advantage of gravity and atmospheric pressure, flush toilets are an ingenious engineering solution to an unavoidable problem.

The first Victorian flush toilet was a huge improvement over outdoors privies, 130 years ago, and an even greater improvement over dumping the chamber pot out the second story window onto the sidewalk. It was a significant step forward not only for our dainty sensibilities, but, more importantly, for public health. But the water-flush toilet is becoming increasingly untenable in a world where the population is moving rapidly toward ten billion people, because it relies on vast quantities of water, which may end up being our most valuable and expensive resource. Our antique system wastes drinkable water on an epic scale.

A new series published in leading medical journal Public Library of Science Medicine calls attention to the fact that poor sanitation, water and hygiene not only lead to the deaths of more than two million children each year, but also result in a massive global disease burden.

Approximately 2.6 billion people around the world lack any sanitation whatsoever. More than 200 million tons of human waste goes untreated every year.  And, in the developing world, 90 percent of sewage is discharged directly into lakes, rivers and oceans. And even in developed countries, cities depend on old, rickety sewage systems that are easily overwhelmed by a heavy rain. YUCK!

Take for example, the fifth largest sewage treatment plant in the nation.  Human waste has been pouring into New York Harbor since it was hit by Sandy and the operator of the plant cannot predict when it will stop.

A 12-foot surge of water swamped the Newark plant that serves some three million people when Sandy struck on Oct. 29. The plant has pumped more than three billion gallons of untreated or partially treated wastewater into local waterways since then.

Mike DeFrancisci, executive director of the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission, would only say “ASAP” when asked when repairs to the sprawling facility could be made.

Until then, the main outfall will continue dumping millions of gallons of partially treated human waste a day at a point close to the Statue of Liberty across from Manhattan.

Pathogens in partially treated waste are a health hazard and public safety threat, officials said.  Fishing, crabbing and shellfishing bans in the New Jersey waters of the harbor will remain in effect, said Larry Ragonese, a Department of Environmental Protection spokesman.

Think you can escape the ripple effects of the toilet by buying bottled water? Think again. A new report from the Environmental Working Group found 38 chemicals in 10 widely sold brands, as well as bacteria, caffeine, drugs, fertilizer and solvents — and you can bet most of that came from human waste that sewage treatment plants couldn’t take care of. The companies that make the two brands identified in the report as having chlorine levels exceeding California standards, Wal-Mart and Giant Foods, defended the quality of their water, the Associated Press reports.

A new series published in leading medical journal Public Library of Science Medicine calls attention to the fact that poor sanitation, water and hygiene not only lead to the deaths of more than two million children each year, but also result in a massive global disease burden.

Gene Logsdon, the author of Holy Shit: Managing Manure To Save Mankind tried to figure it out in the Atlantic. He indicates that fertilizer costs $80 per acre. The tiny farm wiki suggests a rate of 8.5 tons of manure per acre for an annual application. That puts an economic value of about 10 bucks per ton of manure. We know from our post The Flusher King: Testing Toilets that the average poop is 250 grams, or 1/4000 of a metric tonne, so on average, at current fertilizer prices, each poop has an economic value of two cents. Multiply that by a town or city and you are talking real money.

We take it for granted, the humble commode, but waste disposal as we know it may not survive indefinitely.

Our antique system wastes drinkable water
on an epic scale.

Think of the excrement of 50 million people and 2.5 billion chickens helping to enrich soil rather than pollute water. Think of the food being produced without dependence on manufactured fertilizers or the need even for much fossil fuel. Think of all those people interacting with one another in their communities instead of running all over the world learning about nothing particular in any kind of deep, thoughtful way. Think of all those people feeling happy and important because they are involved in the meaningful work of feeding themselves and others, not overwhelmed by a paranoid fear that they are helpless before the dragons of a self-destructing economy. Think of something approaching an earthly type paradise. If it gives you joy and contentment, who gives a shit what it’s worth in money?

Live and Learn. We All Do.

Thanks for reading. Please pass this on to someone who means something to you.

Please don’t forget to leave a comment.

About julia29

Hi. My name is Julia El-Haj. I am a Hall of Fame Athlete, an MBA, Professional Certified Marketer, Certified Youth Fitness Trainer, a Specialist in Sports Nutrition and a licensed Real Estate agent. I gave up my "seat at the table" to be home with my 3 children because that's where I was needed most. I blog about everything with Wellness in mind.
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