We don’t usually think too much about porta-potties. For the most part, we don’t encounter them all that often.
The last time you saw one may have been on a construction site or a music festival. Whatever the case may be, they aren’t widely apparent here in Medicine Hat unless you have a particular need for them.
However, there is a vast population of the world that actually NEEDS porta-potties as a means of sanitation control.
You see, not everywhere has plumbing and toilets readily available. Actually, it is said over 4 billion people live without proper sanitation measures, and almost 900 million practice open defecation.
Well the consequences that come from this standard of living, is the spread of many diseases such as cholera which is known to have killed millions of people today and throughout history.
There is an organization under the United Nations that has spread awareness of World Toilet Day (WTD). This organization prides itself on providing proper sanitary solutions to those in need.
Much of the time, this is the creation of public outhouses and portable toilets with chemical basins to mitigate the spread of disease.
What are these diseases that could spread?
Well, there are diseases such as cholera, diarrhea, typhoid, and schistosomiasis. Primarily these are spread through soil or water, and additionally the unsanitary lack of hand-washing stations. Without the proper control and disposal of human waste, these diseases can spread rapidly and for third-world countries, this can be devastating. It is said more than a billion people could have various types of worms, and even more, are at risk. This is a vastly growing concern for the health and safety of those living in impoverished countries.
How do the chemicals in porta-potties manage waste?
Porta-potties and other “outhouses” use chemicals such as Formaldehyde or its substrate, Glutaraldehyde. These are widely used in preservatives and things like cosmetics. In its raw form, it is quite harmful to the skin. However, it does a fantastic job of killing bacteria and preserving the odor from coming out of the toilet. So with this, we can start limiting and hopefully eliminating these horrible diseases from becoming such a widespread issue.
How else do porta potties save lives?
You may not consider it, but having proper sanitary facilities is crucial to have some dignity. Imagine having to do your business outside in front of everyone every day. Sure you might be able to dip into some bushes for a little privacy, but this runs the risk of you encountering unwanted bugs and animals that call that bush home.
In these impoverished areas where this is a problem. Women also don’t feel safe going to relive themselves since there is little to no privacy. They not only have to worry about animals and creepy crawlies, but also other people attacking them.
It’s sad but it’s true, and we take this for granted in Canada and other more well off countries.
So be thankful!
You are among the top 1% in the world right now. We have almost everything we need at our fingertips. Sure we may not all have a Ferrari, but at least we have basic amenities that 60% of the world does not.
There is still hope in humanity though and many wonderful souls are working very hard to provide sanitary solutions and other live improving resources to these countries in need.
So next time you are using a porta-potty, you may not think much, but just remember, this is something that is actually saving lives.