Did you know that over half of the global population (approximately 4.2 billion people) lack safe sanitation? Or that 1.1 billion people still practice air-open defecation?
Safe sanitation systems are a strong defense against the current Covid pandemic and other chronic diseases. By way of example, improved sanitation can reduce the number of cases of diarrhea by 37.5%. A huge impact considering diarrhea kills more children worldwide than HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.
You might wonder what is the connection between sustainable sanitation systems and climate change. The effects of climate change are threatening sanitation systems – from toilets to septic tanks to treatment plants – more and more. For instance, floodwater can damage toilets and spread human waste into water supplies, food crops and people´s homes. Nonetheless, sustainable sanitation systems can protect our environment. 80% of the wastewater produced by society flows back into the ecosystem without being treated or reused. Wastewater and sludge from toilets contain valuable water, fertilizers and energy. Container-based systems like Mosan´s capture, transport, treat, and reuse human waste safely. Besides the previously mentioned health benefits, the safely managed excreta can be a great sustainable source of fertilizers for the agricultural sector.
Our work in the Lake Atitlán basin is particularly significant. Every year 13.3 billion liters of contaminated wastewater goes into Lake Atitlán. The lake is a source of water for over 70,000 people. Studies conducted around the lake show that up to 38% of children suffer from diarrhea, dysentery, dermal infection or other water and hygiene borne diseases. (2018, Wastewater Management in the Basin of Lake Atitlan: A Background Study)
The Mosan Solution is an innovative and complete system which offers safe sanitation and is environmentally friendly. The Mosan toilet does not use water and it offers a lot of benefits to the families, the municipalities and protects both the lake and the environment. In comparison to other conventional sanitation solutions such as drainage systems or pit latrines, Mosan is climate positive. The modular Mosan system prevents the large use of water, cement, and construction materials, and by transforming feces into biochar we can store CO2 in the soil and replace artificial fertilizers, which would harm the environment, at the same time. Throughout 2020 we have conducted a climate impact assessment and we have recently welcomed in our team Raluca Anisie, a climate impact specialist, who will contribute to our continuous work to offer a climate-positive solution.
World Toilet Day was a great opportunity for Mosan to present its solution to a broader public and sensitize about the topics of health, hygiene and the sanitation crisis. We organized an event in Panajachel, a town on the shores of Lake Atitlán in Guatemala. We did a poster campaign and a toilet exhibition. With a long formation of toilets towards Lake Atitlán and San Pedro volcano we raised awareness of the interconnection between sanitation, the lake, the environment and the huge potential safe sanitation has to tackle the climate crisis.
Local and national news reported the event. The local news channel PANA LIKE reported live on Facebook.