Making Sanitation Sexy

Lack of proper sanitation is why many Haitians are under assault from cholera right now, with more than 2,300 dead so far and 100,000 sickened.

Millions of people, mostly children, die from diarrhea and other water-borne illnesses spread by lack of toilets, sewer systems and clean water, says the World Health Organization. Something like one out of every three or four people on the planet has no access to a toilet.

Among those organizations trying to draw attention to this massive but neglected problem, the Acumen Fund recently announced winners of its “Search for the Obvious” contest asking people to submit videos, illustrations and even the best Tweet aimed at “Making Sanitation Sexy.”

You can see the list of Sexy Sanitation winners and entries here. Some are funny, provocative. I especially liked this video:

Here’s an earlier post on World Toilet Day. This is a big problem worldwide. The solution is simple in concept — developing basic sewage treatment systems — but not so simple to achieve in poor countries. These kind of campaigns can help raise awareness. But what’s needed will be government investment in building and maintaining basic infrastructure.

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Tom Paulson

Tom Paulson is founder and lead journalist at Humanosphere. Prior to operating this online news site, he reported on science,  medicine, health policy, aid and development for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Contact him at tom[at]humanosphere.org or follow him on Twitter @tompaulson.