Despite progress on the UN’s millennium goal to improve sanitation worldwide, 2.4 billion people are still using unimproved sanitation facilities, including the nearly one billion people who practice open defecation. The result is the spread of diarrheal germs which, according to the CDC, are the cause of 1 in 9 child deaths worldwide--the second most common cause of death among children under the age of 5.
Several research projects are underway in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Duke to help address this issue. A neighborhood-scale fecal sludge processing system is being developed to provide human waste treatment for communities of 1000-1200 people. A combined toilet and processing system is being engineered to offer onsite treatment for groups of 20-50 people. Effective methods of odor control for these and many other solutions are also being investigated. See the tabs above for more information on any of these projects.
This work has been made possible through the generous funding of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.