Sharing our love of toilets

Flush with sanitation standards on World Toilet Day. 

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For some 3.6 billion people in the world, a flushing toilet is a pipe dream, which is why simple solutions for sanitation need to be developed and deployed where they are needed most. A healthy environment is a human right, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, recently called on Member States to take bold actions to make that happen.

As we celebrate World Toilet Day, ISO is heralding the widespread national adoption by governments around the world of standards that support revolutionary new solutions for those who don’t have access to clean sanitation.

ISO 30500, Non-sewered sanitation systems – Prefabricated integrated treatment units – General safety and performance requirements for design and testing, made international headlines when it was first published in 2018, gaining the support of national and international organizations around the world. It underpins the development of revolutionary new technologies such as stand-alone sanitation systems that safely treat waste without the need to be connected to a traditional sewerage system.

The standard has been nationally adopted in 28 countries, including more than 20 in Africa, meaning it will support the development of this technology and the implementation of policies that improve sanitation according to their own specific needs. Its use helps to demonstrate to manufacturers, governments, regulators and end users of non-sewered facilities that they are safe, environmentally friendly, reliable and of good quality, thus encouraging further investment in the development of even better toilets.

Another solution for clean sanitation in places that lack traditional water utilities and sewerage systems is the use of on-site domestic wastewater treatment systems. ISO 24521, Activities relating to drinking water and wastewater services – Guidelines for the management of basic on-site domestic wastewater services, offers the practical guidance required for designing and building such facilities as well as training up the people who are destined to use them.

This standard, too, has now been nationally adopted in 26 different countries – including over 20 in Africa – demonstrating its utility and relevance to governments and organizations wishing to address sanitation challenges.

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