The Big Necessity

The Big Necessity

The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why It Matters

Book - 2008
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An utterly original exploration of the world of human waste that will surprise, outrage--and entertain

Produced behind closed doors, disposed of discreetly, and hidden by euphemism, bodily waste is something common to all and as natural as breathing, yet we prefer not to talk about it. But we should--even those of us who take care of our business in pristine, sanitary conditions. For it's not only in developing countries that human waste is a major public health threat: population growth is taxing even the most advanced sewage systems, and the disease spread by waste kills more people worldwide every year than any other single cause of death. Even in America, 1.95 million people have no access to an indoor toilet. Yet the subject remains unmentionable.

The Big Necessity takes aim at the taboo, revealing everything that matters about how people do--and don't--deal with their own waste. Moving from the deep underground sewers of Paris, London, and New York--an infrastructure disaster waiting to happen--to an Indian slum where ten toilets are shared by 60,000 people, Rose George stops along the way to explore the potential saviors: China's five million biogas digesters, which produce energy from waste; the heroes of third world sanitation movements; the inventor of the humble Car Loo; and the U.S. Army's personal lasers used by soldiers to zap their feces in the field.

With razor-sharp wit and crusading urgency, mixing levity with gravity, Rose George has turned the subject we like to avoid into a cause with the most serious of consequences.

Publisher: New York : Metropolitan Books, 2008.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780805082715
Characteristics: 288 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm


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IPL_Mandy May 27, 2014

We always here about the need for clean water in developing countries, but I never thought about the reasons why. This book clearly and thoughtfully explains why much of the available drinking water is contaminated around the world - a lack of proper sewage sanitation. While this sounds like an unappealing topic (toilets, sewers, methods for waste disposal), it is told through stories about individuals and how they cope in their daily lives, and of people who are creating innovative ways to deal with the problem. It's even entertaining and funny at times. Serving suggestion: a tall glass of clean water and anything with fibre

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