Reflections on the Work of Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak (1943-2023)

Imagine this… You’re six years old. Happy, healthy, active and curious about everything around you. Everyday, a woman comes to your house to clean the toilet. Your grandmother has told you not to touch her. You notice that when this woman leaves, your grandmother sprinkles the pure water of the Ganges river where the woman…

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Do Americans enjoy the Human Right to Water and Sanitation?


January 23, 2019 In a recent segment on NPR affiliate KLCC, Oregon journalist Denise Silfee points out that the UN General Assembly affirmed the human right to water and sanitation in 2010 while the United States failed to join the majority of nations voting for the resolution. In her interview with people sheltering in a…

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Emergency Sanitation Recommendations for Hurricane Florence


Hurricane Florence is upon us. She is predicted to bring excessive rainfall (over 2 feet) and dangerous storm surge (up to 9-12 feet) to North and South Carolina. While some are rejoicing that wind speeds have been downgraded, NWS continues to predict life-threatening storm surge and unprecedented rainfall. As an organization focused on safe sanitation…

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New documentary breaks taboos to explore America’s wastewater infrastructure


Documentary filmmaker Karina Mangu-Ward is going to make a splash with FLUSH, which premieres worldwide on November 15th, 2017.  Mangu-Ward’s images are captivating, the editing is excellent, and the film features some of North America’s most important sanitation heroes. It will change the way you think about poop. We here at the other PHLUSH (Public Hygiene Lets Us…

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Facing Facts: A Critique of Legacy Wastewater Treatment Systems

Hearings in the Vermont House of Representatives earlier this month give a penetrating and carefully documented look into the issues we are researching at PHLUSH. House Bill 375, sponsored by Representative Teo Zagar seeks to expand and incentivize the use of ecological toilets and greywater systems. Now that much of the extensive testimony organized by…

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Enacting Awareness: Water, Waste, and Public Space

With last Friday’s whimsical 5K walk, activists at the University of California at Santa Cruz focused attention on often-evaded issues. “Slugs to Sludge” was created as a playful way to raise awareness of sewage infrastructure and the water it requires, and to advocate for action on ecological sanitation at UCSC and beyond. With the average…

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Reflect Before You Flush


This guest blog post is by John Gonzalez from the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District for World Toilet Day 2013. Please check out our ToiletsUSA page for more info. Follow #ToiletsUSA, #LiftTheLid, and #CelebrateTheToilet. Your ability to “flush and forget” is taken for granted. Period. In the US, access to proper and efficient sanitation does not represent the…

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Where does it all go? Sanitation tours provide answers.

Where does it all go after we flush?  How does it all get managed?  How come we know so little about how wastewater treatment systems work? These are the questions that led us to organize our 2011-12  series of expert-led tours of sanitation facilities.  As citizens, we need some understanding of essential infrastructure to influence…

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