Except in schoolboy jokes, the subject of human waste is rarely aired. We talk about i? water-relatedi? diseases when most are sanitation-related - in short, we doni? t mention the shit. A century and a half ago, a long, hot summer reduced the Thames flowing past the UK Houses of Parliament to a i? Great Stinki? , thereby inducing MPs to legislate sanitary reform. Today, another sanitary reformation is needed, one that manages to spread cheaper and simpler systems to people everywhere. In the byways of the developing world, much is quietly happening on the excretory frontier. In 2008, the International Year of Sanitation, the authors bring this awkward subject to a wider audience than the world of international filth usually commands. They seek the elimination of the i? Great Distastei? so that people without political clout or economic muscle can claim their right to a dignified and hygienic place to i? goi? . Published with UNICEF
Maggie Black has written several books on water, sanitation and development such as The No-Nonsense Guide to International Development (New Internationalist, 2007). Ben Fawcett is an environmental health engineer and was until recently a lecturer at the University of Southampton, UK.