Roman public toilet

Toilet history – The modern flush toilet has been shaped by many innovations in design and functionality. Nowadays, there are dual-flush toilets, portable toilets, one-piece toilets, toilets with built in bidets, toilets with heated seats, toilets with seats that raise and lower automatically, waterless toilets, and eco-san (stands for Ecological Sanitation) toilets. Toilets today can handle a great deal more waste and refuse than its predecessors while using half the water.

Ancient civilizations used toilets attached to simple flowing water sewage systems included those of the Indus Valley Civilization, which are located in present day India and Pakistan, and also the Romans and Egyptians.

  • eco-san (stands for Ecological Sanitation) toilets
  • Chemical toilets – used in mobile and many temporary situations where there is no access to sewerage, dry toilets, including pit toilets and composting toilet require no or little water with excreta being removed manually or composted in situ.

Where does poo go? – Dealing with our poo properly is not only about averting danger, it’s also about seizing an opportunity. Poo, safely treated and reused, has massive potential as an affordable and sustainable source of energy, nutrients and water. Sanitation systems also generate jobs and investment opportunities.

World Toilet Day is about inspiring action to tackle the global sanitation crisis. Today, 4.5 billion people live without a household toilet that safely disposes of their waste. Sanitation central to eradicating extreme poverty. In 2013, the United Nations General Assembly officially designated November 19 as World Toilet Day. World Toilet Day is coordinated by UN-Water in collaboration with governments and partners.
What’s the problem?

  • Ask – Reducing the amount of water used to flush a toilet can add up to great savings in water usage. So the challenge is to work out ways to flush the waste from the system with the minimum about of water.
  • Imagine – In order to cleanly flush the bowl, how much water is required? What can be done to reduce this amount? How can the flushing process be improved? Is this a push system or a pull system?
  • Design, Build – Once the modifications have been worked out, the revised toilet system is designed and built. The design is tested and measured to determine if the changes are having the desired effect. Has the water usage been reduced? Is the bowl flushed cleanly with the current volume of water?
  • Improve – How can this toilet flush system be further improved? Is it possible to reduce the volume of water even more?

Learn more…

  • Toilet – a sanitation fixture used primarily for the disposal of human urine and feces.