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I was in the middle of a journey in Tibet when suddenly my stomach hurts. It hurts so bad, then I woke up, I need to go to the restroom. This morning ritual never misses my day. I believe everyone does it too. But, does everybody have a restroom or something even close to a water closet? Wait, before answer that question I should’ve asked why we need it?
Long, long time ago The Babylonians discovered that contaminated water could cause diseases. So they brought in fresh water every day to prevent diseases. It was a big discovery in sanitation. For me, diseases are not even in my mind. I’d love it, especially when it’s clean, surrounded with a wall, no odor, and completed with a good air circulation. Thus, the water is easy to get, just lose a bit of my valve and there goes the water.
The Roman Empires made great progress in the area of sanitation. They built aqueducts to bring in fresh water, sewer systems, and, even more, they built public baths. The ancient civilization in the Indus Valley (3300 – 1300 BC) dam up their river and connect it to a lot of gigantic reservoirs. The people in Indus valley also built complex sewer systems which connected to each and every house to ensure proper dumping waste. They also built inspection holes for maintenance. Yet, That’s a rare thing to find here, in my neighborhood, in 2016. As the fall of their civilization, their wisdom is knowledge are gone too. Everyone back to primitive ways to do their morning rituals.
During the Middle Ages, the common folk dumped their waste right into the backyards and streets. Much of the time, the waste would flow into ground wells and city water supplies. On the contrary, The rich dumped their waste into open cesspools. It was in 1186, In the palace of the Holy Roman Emperor in Effurt, Germany, during a large gathering the floors collapsed and hundreds of the emperor’s guests fell into the cesspool and drowned in human excrement.
In London, 1854, Dr. John Snow investigated a disaster which swept through the Soho neighborhood. People died from cholera diseases. Then he interviewed the families of the victims. Nearly all of the victims drank water from a well on Board Street.
“Within two-hundred-and-fifty yards of the spot where Cambridge Street joins Broad Street, there were upwards of five hundred fatal attacks of cholera in ten days,”
Later, Snow discovered that the mother of a girl afflicted with cholera had dumped her daughter’s waste bucket into a leaking cesspool, only three feet from the Broad Street well. After that discovery, scientist began seeing the connection between infectious disease and human waste. Gradually by the late of the 1800s, the medical scientist came to believe that there had to be a dramatic separation between human waste and drinking water. In the late of 19th century, the science of sanitation improved by the development of the water closet and closed sewer systems.
Today, 90.4% of people worldwide had access to water and only 67.5% of people the world had access to basic sanitation.