Sobering realities for World Water Day

March 22, 2012
World Water Day is celebrated worldwide today, March 22 and here in Portland on Saturday.  As advocates of sustainable sanitation we have trouble with the custom of using our drinking water to transport our human excreta, household graywater, industrial chemicals, and storm water runoff to the wastewater treatment plant.  Portland’s Bull Run water is among the best in the world. The best long tall drink a person can ask for. We shouldn’t be pooping and peeing into it.

There are other ways.   It’s time make the shift.  The world’s farmers need our water, our urine and our composted feces.  Just look at the facts:

  • There are 7 billion people to feed on the planet today and another 2 billion are expected to join by 2050. This means that 70% more food will be needed, up to 100% in developing countries.
  • Statistics say that each of us drinks from 2 to 4 litres of water every day, however most of the water we ‘drink’ is embedded in the food we eat. It takes about 1500 liters of water to produce 1 kg of wheat, but it takes 10 12 times more to produce 1kg of beef!
  • Roughly 30% of the food produced worldwide – about 1.3 billion tons – is lost or wasted every year. Diets with excessive food intake are also a source of waste and a cause of growing heath costs.
  • By 2025, 1.8 billion people will be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity, and two-thirds of the world’s population could be living under water stressed conditions.
  • During the second half of the 20th century, world population had a twofold increase, agriculture doubled food production and developing countries increased per capita food consumption by 30 percent.

Source:  World Water Day 2012 Advocacy Guide

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Our Mission Through education and advocacy, PHLUSH helps local governments and citizen groups to provide equitable public restroom availability and to prepare for a pipe-breaking seismic event with appropriate ecological toilet systems.

Our Vision Toilet availability is a human right and well-designed sanitation systems restore health to our cities, our waters and our soils.

Public Hygiene Lets Us Stay Human (PHLUSH) was founded in Portland, Oregon and today collaborates with groups across North America.

PHLUSH is a member of the World Toilet Organization and a partner in the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance.

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