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UKZN chemical engineers set out to re-invent the toilet

21 Nov 2012 11:43
According to, a team from the Pollution Research Group (PRG) based in the chemical engineering department at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), is attempting to, literally, re-invent the toilet as we know it - a 200-year old design that depends on an infinite water supply and extensive sewer system. Flush toilets are available only to a fraction of the world's population and are unsustainable, especially in water-scarce countries.
Professor Chris Buckley, an international sanitation expert and head of the PRG says flush toilets use "vast quantities of water to disperse small quantities of faeces", which are then dissolved and circulated throughout the world. "We have never been great advocates for the use of water for sanitation," he adds.

40 percent of the world's citizens, some 2.6 billion people, have no hygienic toilet facilities. This exposes them to a perpetual cycle of potentially fatal diseases, such as cholera and diarrhea, reports. According to the World Health Organisation, improved sanitation can produce up to U.S. $9 for every $1 invested by increasing productivity, reducing health care costs, and preventing illness, disability and early death.

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