You are walking inside a mall when suddenly you feel the call of nature. What do you do? You desperately look for signs pointing to the nearest toilet. But what if you are not in the mall? What if you are in an unfamiliar place, then what? Worse, what if you are on the road in a remote location?
Fortunately, there’s an app for this kind of emergency. The Imodium Toilet Tracker is a handy thing to have. With just one check on your smart phone, your problem is solved – a toilet is located for you and a crisis is averted. After finding a toilet however, the next thing you would be concerned about is the availability of toilet paper and/or running water.
These are just some of the real, day-to-day problems we face in the Philippines, and I’m almost sure in other developing countries as well, especially in the rural areas. Sanitation has been a concern of humankind since the beginning. The Ancient Romans built public toilets as well as public baths. Sanitation was a major health concern in London ever since it was founded. Indoor plumbing was a much-heralded improvement in recent centuries.
Still the problem of sanitation plagues us. In the Philippines, adequate toilet facilities and bad hygiene are two of the major challenges that need to be overcome.
The Imodium Toilet Tracker app is helpful, but only for those who have access to technology such as smart phones and Internet access. But it’s just one tool for improving our sanitation dilemma. We hope to find new and more solutions on December 1 and 2 during the Global Sanitation Hackathon or Sanhack. Some ten countries will be participating including the Philippines to bring together developers in solving a host of common sanitation issues. These new programs and apps could be used by the public, local and national governments to solve our sanitation problems. There is no limit to the tools that can be produced.
Any tool/solution always starts with a problem. This does not mean of course that you and I have to create a problem. These problems have long existed but we need to identify them more clearly. We need your feedback so we can begin to understand what water and sanitation experts and developers need to address. The problem could be personal, local and at the national level. If there is a problem, we need to know it so we can begin solving it.
So, what sanitation problems bother you most today? Let us know using either of these two ways:
1) Posting a comment on this blog post
2) Tweeting your comment with the hashtag #SanHack
More about the Sanitation Hackathon:
Dates: December 1 and 2, 2012
Twitter hashtag: #SanHack
In the Philippines, the Hackaton will be held at the Valero Telpark
Thanks in advance for your feedback!