One of the world’s best known toilet brands has taken up the challenge to improve safety and sanitation in developing world countries. American Standard Brands has partnered with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop and test a low-cost, prefabricated toilet system.
Lack of adequate sanitation facilities affects around 40 percent of the world’s population, and around 1.2 billion people worldwide practice open defecation. An estimated 1.6 million people, mostly children under the age of five, die each year from water and sanitation related diseases.
“A majority of these deaths are preventable through access to proper sanitation, safe drinking water and improved hygiene,” said Jay Gould, American Standard Brands president and chief executive officer.
In collaboration with the Gates Foundation’s Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Strategy, and the International Development Enterprises (iDE), American Standard engineers will work to develop a prefabricated toilet system that is more hygienic, easier to install, easier to maintain and clean, and can be economically mass-produced.
“Our goal is to develop a safe, affordable, latrine for the developing world that does not require a water and sewer based infrastructure,” explained project director, Jim McHale, Ph.D., American Standard Brands vice president, engineering. McHale notes that improved sanitation will help achieve the United Nations’ 2015 Millennium Development Goal of reducing by half the proportion of people who lack safe drinking water and basic sanitation by the year 2015.