Innovations in Sanitation: New Waves in Water Management

Kancheepuram Canal, Tamil Nadu (Photo credit: McKay Savage, Wikimedia Commons)

Kancheepuram Canal, Tamil Nadu (Photo credit: McKay Savage, Wikimedia Commons)

Overflowing Problems

Disease-causing bacteria and other pathogens lurk in much of India’s water supply. This is largely caused by the improper disposal of waste, including agricultural runoff.


Although access to drinking water has improved, the World Bank estimates that 21% of communicable diseases in India are related to unsafe water. In India, diarrhea alone causes more than 1,600 deaths daily—the same as if eight 200-person jumbo-jets crashed to the ground each day.

– water.org: “The Water & Sanitation Crisis in India


India’s water crisis is caused by a combination of factors, including poor government planning, government corruption, and mismanagement of human and industrial waste.

India is certainly not alone in facing a water crisis. However, as the second most-populous nation on Earth, the magnitude of India’s water crisis eclipses that of most other countries. Continue reading

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Innovations in Sanitation: The Challenge of Menstrual Waste Management

School Hygiene Day

LEAF Society: School Hygiene Day

Getting Past Taboos to Tackle Environmental Issues

Menstrual waste presents its own special challenges. And the first challenge is opening the dialogue in a country where menstruation is generally not openly discussed. Continue reading

Innovations in Sanitation: Transforming Waste into Assets

Waste and Sewage Management: A Swiftly-Expanding Problem

The Indian coast of the Arabian Sea is littered with for miles with trash. (Photo credit: Rajanish Kakade, Associated Press)

The Indian coast of the Arabian Sea (photo credit: Rajanish Kakade, Associated Press)

India is seeing record population increases, particularly in urban areas. Five states alone—Maharastra, West Bengal, Chennai, Uttar Pradesh, and Kolkata—generate nearly twenty-five tonnes of municipal waste annually.

A chart depicting the top 5 states in India that generate the highest municipal waste, by million tonnes per year

The existing waste-management infrastructures cannot keep pace with this rapid population growth, and all the corresponding waste. Continue reading

Innovations in Sanitation: An Introduction

In these days of smartphones, streaming, online commerce, and telecommuting, it may seem strange that something as basic as sanitation would still need to be improved. But the reality is bleak: From the time you started reading this post until roughly the end of this sentence, another child will have died from poor sanitation. Continue reading