Under the twin-pit system, two pits are dug with honeycombed walls and earthen floors which allow liquid to percolate into the surrounding soil

India has far higher open defecation rates than other developing regions where people are poorer, literacy rates are lower, and water is relatively more scarce. In practice, government programmes in rural India have paid little attention in understanding why so many rural Indians defecate in the open rather than use affordable pit latrines. Drawing on new data, a study points out that widespread open defecation in rural India is on account of beliefs, values, and norms about purity, pollution, caste, and untouchability that cause people to reject affordable latrines.

2.6 billion people all over the world lack adequate toilets and hygiene facilities. Good sanitation ensures public health and contributes to economic development by preventing loss of human days caused by ill health and deaths due to diseases like jaundice, cholera and diarrhoea.

On August 20, 2009 during the World Water Week in Stockholm, Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak will receive the 2009 Stockholm Water Prize for his lifelong dedication to improve public health, advance social progress, and improve human rights in India and internationally. Dr. Pathak shares his reflections and visions on his ongoing quest for clean and dignified lives for all people.

Four decades ago, when Bindeshwar Pathak began his work on changing unsanitary latrine practices, there were sceptics galore. Today, Pathak

Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak, founder of the Sulabh Sanitation Movement in India, has been named the 2009 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate.

There is one source of fertilizer that seems virtually recession proof and protective against soaring prices as well-and that is the fertilizer in human urine. Environment and Public Health Organization (ENPHO) has for several years been promoting ecosan toilets which collect urine and faeces seprately.

function open_new_popwin() { newwd=window.open("dte_slideshow/20081130_Slide_show/photo_gallery.htm","","height=550,width=600,scrollbar=yes"); newwd.moveTo(200,100); } Photograph

Investing in sanitation and hygiene is not only about saving human lives and dignity; it is the foundation for investing in human development, especially in poor urban and peri-urban areas.

Chitra Vishwanath and her husband, S Vishwanath, are architects based in Bangalore who use their home on a 30x50 sq ft as their laboratory. The toilet in Vishwanaths' home is dry, it does not use water. Both the solid and liquid waste from the toilets are collected separately and used as fertiliser in the garden.