World Water Day is coming up this Saturday. One of the event’s goals is to bring attention to the billion people who live without access to safe drinking water.
A major obstacle standing before that objective is a lack of the sanitation that would prevent human waste from polluting water supplies. One innovation, a solar-powered, fiber-optic-equipped toilet that requires no water and sanitizes sewage with high heat, is among several that are trying to fix the problem and improve public health.
Developed by engineers at University of Colorado Boulder, the system uses eight parabolic mirrors that focus sunlight onto an area the size of a postage stamp. This energy is then piped through fiber-optic cables to a reaction chamber that heats waste to 600 degrees Fahrenheit.
Getting milk from cow to customer is a fairly straightforward proposition: milk the cows, collect the milk from a bunch of different animals, transport it to a processor to get it ready to consume, package it and distribute it for sale to consumers.
At least, that’s how it goes in the developed world. But even with dairy cows dotting the landscape of countries like Uganda and India, the fresh milk supply often breaks at its earliest stages, leaving a void that can deprive children and adults of valuable nutrition, energy and food security.
The problem is refrigeration—not for consumers but for the farmers who milk their cows in the morning and evening. Morning milk can be punctually dispatched to a chiller, which slows bacterial growth in the fluid by dropping its temperature. But without proper cooling, the evening’s milk turns bad by the time it could be transported to a bulk collector and then on to a processor. Along with the waste, poor farmers miss out on valuable lost income.