The humble toilet — it may not seem like much, but modern toilets and sanitation engineering are to thank for myriad improvements in public health over the years. But approximately 2.5 billion people around the world still do not have access to proper sanitation, according to the UN. This leaves them vulnerable to contaminated drinking water and diarrheal disease, a major cause of death among children in the developing world. The quest to improve these statistics is a daunting, expensive, but ultimately necessary project to improve public health. Hear from four sanitation activists and designers on the front lines, below:
Why We Need To Talk About Shit | Jack Sim | TEDxSalford
Jack Sim, a.k.a. “Mr. Toilet,” is founder of the World Toilet Organization and an international proponent of sanitation engineering. This humorous talk at TEDxSalford showcases Sim’s personal crusade to make toilets a less taboo subject and to bring effective sanitation to the developing world.
The surprising truth of open defecation in India | Sangita Vyas | TEDxWalledCity
Public health researcher Sangita Vyas explores the state of sanitation engineering in India and explains her research into the hygiene habits of rural Indians. Vyas’ talk from TEDxWalledCity shows how cultural differences must be taken into account when crafting large-scale public health interventions.
How is your toilet making you stressed? | Peter Codling | TEDxLoughborough
Designer Peter Codling reexamines the modern toilet, explaining that the standard “sitting” toilet is poorly designed from an ergonomic standpoint. This talk from TEDxLoughborough showcases Codling’s updated, improved toilet design and how it came to be.
Innovation to sanitation through empathic design | Jasmine Burton | TEDxAtlanta
Industrial designer Jasmine Burton explores the concept of “empathetic design” through the story of how she and her engineering team created a new, inexpensive mobile toilet for use in the developing world. Burton explains the power of ethnographic research and cultural understanding in informing engineering and design.