Issue 414 of New Internationalist

Reader-owned global journalism

August 2008

August 2008

2.6 billion people around the world don’t have a WC or any other kind of decent toilet. Because ‘faecal perils’ land up on hands, feet and lips, two million of them – mostly children – die of diarrhoeal disease every year. The toll in indignity and distress, especially among women, is less measurable but arguably far worse. Out on the excretory frontier, toilet pioneers are strutting their stuff with goose-necks and waterseals, sanplats and the ecological approach. But they won’t get far unless people – rich and famous, poor and deprived – can be persuaded to confront the unmentionable and call a spade a spade. This issue of New Internationalist looks at who and what are carrying the sanitary flame in the 21st century.


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In this issue

  • 2008 is the International Year of Sanitation. Or, asks *Maggie Black*, is it the International Year of Silence and Embarrassment?

  • Dominica is a small island both in population and size. Yet the island feels a lot bigger than this, with dozens of mountain peaks, waterfalls and some say a river for every day of the year.

  • Everything you ever wanted to know about toilets.

  • Science is coming up with ever more extraordinary proposals for combating climate change, from laying white plastic over deserts to locking up carbon dioxide in the oceans or shooting it into space. Should we take any of this seriously?