For more than 45 years, the United Nations has promoted an annual World Environment Day, encouraging all global citizens to act to protect and sustain our environment. Today 100 countries participate in thousands of activities related to the annual theme, with an identified host country each year. China is hosting the 2019 programs with a theme of air pollution.
World Environment Day highlights the message that we're not just dependent on our environment, we are an integral part of it. Our actions critically impact the safety and sustainability of our environment. For example, a lack of global sanitation infrastructure leads to negative public health impacts and groundwater and surface water quality issues.
Approximately 80 percent of global citizens do not have access to safe human waste treatment solutions. Addressing this need provides an opportunity to engineer novel solutions and new treatment systems that eliminate a polluting waste. And this can be done off the grid, while at the same time producing energy and recycling nutrients for agricultural applications.
To help improve the quality and safety of sanitation systems, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the Association Senegalaise de Normalisation (ASN) with the support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, have initiated a proposal to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) for the development of an international standard on fecal sludge treatment systems for communities.
ISO Project Committee (PC) 318 is currently developing a voluntary international product standard, ISO/DIS 31800, on community scale resource-oriented sanitation treatment units. This standard specifies requirements and test methods to ensure safety, performance, and sustainability of prefabricated fecal sludge treatment units that serve approximately (but not limited to) 1,000 to 100,000 people. The intention of these treatment units is to safely treat fecal sludge even in places where neither wastewater systems nor suitable wastewater treatment plants exist. Pre-fabricated fecal sludge treatment units will help to improve human living conditions, reduce air and water pollution, and reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases and malodors for a better environment and a more sustainable future.
ANSI and ASN support #WorldEnvironmentDay as a day of reflection, appreciation, and action towards a global sustainable future.