Corruption and fraud sends South Africans down the drain

8 min read Poorly maintained infrastructure — much of it more than 100 years old — dysfunctional wastewater treatment plants, fraud, corruption and collapse of local governance mean taps in many towns and villages have either run dry or have undrinkable water.

The future of sanitation: 10 years of reinventing the toilet

4 min read Growing up in modest circumstances in Côte D’Ivoire, we didn’t have a decent toilet at home. I didn’t even know this was a problem. Only years later, at university, after I talked to friends studying medicine and learned how diseases travel through contamination and exposure to feces, did I realize that the deaths of many in my community, including several of my siblings, should have been prevented by better sanitation.

I need to take a Yee!

4 min read Dr. Shannon Yee and his team are developing a new, low-cost toilet to solve the world’s sanitation crisis.

Court orders Limpopo education dept to devise workable plan for abolition of school pit toilets

2 min read On Friday 17 September 2021 Judge Gerrit Muller ruled that the minister of basic education and MEC of the Limpopo Department of Education have 90 days to come up with a revised and detailed plan for the eradication of pit toilets in Limpopo schools. In a scathing judgment, Muller said that the department’s projection that it would only be able to do this over 14 years was ‘unreasonable’ and ‘unconstitutional’.

What is urea and AdBlue, and why does a worldwide shortage threaten Australia’s supply chain?

3 min read You may have never heard of urea, but the worldwide shortage of the chemical compound could bring Australia’s supply chain to its knees in a matter of weeks.

The world is facing a major shortage of the compound, a key ingredient found in the diesel ­exhaust fluid AdBlue and a large component in fertiliser.

The main reason for the shortage is that China, which previously supplied 80% of Australia’s urea supplies, has banned export of the product. That’s because the cost of fertiliser has skyrocketed and China wants to slow that price growth.

But this could inadvertently force many of Australia’s trucks off the road, as urea is injected into the exhaust systems of modern diesel vehicles to reduce emissions, which is a requirement for trucks, private vehicles and tractors.

The shortage could also lead to higher food prices at the register.

So what is urea and how badly could the shortage impact Australia’s supply chain?

60 Minutes investigates: Americans fighting for access to sewage disposal

7 min read Lowndes County, Alabama, which sits between Selma and Montgomery, was once called Bloody Lowndes for its central role in the struggle for civil rights. Today people in Lowndes are fighting for another basic right: access to sewage treatment. By some estimates more than half the impoverished, rural residents have raw sewage running into their yards and even their houses. Catherine Coleman Flowers, a White House adviser and MacArthur Genius Grant recipient, is turning a spotlight on this long-standing public health failure. She says it’s a problem, found in other parts of Alabama and all over the country, which even the millions of dollars in new infrastructure spending are unlikely to fix. Flowers brought us home to Lowndes County to see what she calls America’s dirty secret. We warn you, it can be hard to watch.

Declare South Africa’s wastewater treatment a national disaster, urges SAHRC

9 min read With an electricity crisis, service providers can literally turn off the power to rectify a situation, but when it comes to water and sanitation, there is no way to shed shit. This past week, the SA Human Rights Commission recommended that the situation regarding failing wastewater treatment works in South Africa, and their pollution of the country’s water resources, be declared a national disaster.