Dirty, smelly and not recommended for hygiene, but they do their job: it is our sewers. Although it may present serious structural problems (often all sorts of problems arise from their congestion, in conjunction with rains and overflows), our Network is a conquest of civilization from which not everyone in the world can benefit.
Take developing countries: the absence of any disposal system for our biological waste causes the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people every year. Don't think this is a small pocket of poverty in poorly urbanized areas: out of 10 inhabitants of Planet Earth in 2011, 4 still live in direct contact with their waste, without any sewage system, falling ill with typhus, cholera, diarrhea, hepatitis. Hundreds of thousands of deaths a year, to the point that the UN has included access to sanitation among basic human rights.
To raise awareness in Western public opinion, sitting (it should be said) on its 'laurels' and not very interested in the subject, an NGO, the World Toilet Organization, which promotes everyone's right to have adequate sanitation: helping disadvantaged populations to build houses is useless if they are unhealthy due to the lack of sewage networks.
Every November 19th the world is celebrated on World Toilet Day, a day of information initiatives that pursue this goal. The foundation was helped by the concrete help of a sponsor competent in the field of hygiene: it is Domestos, brand of toilet cleaners and disinfectants, all medical-surgical devices.
Among the various initiatives, there is one that is worth mentioning for its curious and funny character, which also makes us reflect on the 'luck' of having an infrastructure no less important than railways, subways and highways. To get to know the complexity of our sewers without getting into too much ... compromising speeches, we would like to point out a really nice little thing: it is Flushtracker, an app that tracks the drainage flows that leave your toilet and arrive… who knows where, and following which path?
You can find out by flushing the toilet (I'm not kidding) and using Flushtracker: by entering the time and place where you flushed and you will follow live the path that our drain makes through the sewers. Obviously, there is also the hand of Google behind it, which for the occasion also tracks the sewer network (those guys are just everywhere there ...) Try it too: go on www.flushtracker.com, track your drain, click on 'like' and 'tweet it' to share the initiative with your friends, contributing to its success: the more people are aware of the worldwide problem of the scarcity of toilets, the easier it will be to defeat it.
Those who speak to you are following the path of their discharge and reflect: how far they travel! More than 5 kilometers before ending up in the purifier.
The future will give us different systems, perhaps biological ones, to convert our 'contributions' into energy: from the point of view of zero impact, nothing of us will be thrown away (we are asking ourselves, but with wings). Today the priority is to give everyone access to hygiene, to make a toilet (perhaps clean, thanks to Domestos) and functioning sewers available to all terrestrials: the future must be built entirely, starting (this is the case of say so) from the ground up.