Thursday, 19 November 2015

Poetry in Motion - We Visit a Sewage Treatment Plant! | World Toilet Day 2015

We trust you've had your Thursday afternoon pub session and are ready to get it on with World Toilet Day without further preamble. Indeed, as Kick-Arse Suffragette Friend pointed out, today is not only World Toilet Day, but also International Men's Day! As we all know, it is important to give International Men's Day the attention it deserves. All that business of getting higher wages, getting promoted without any extra effort, and dominating leading positions in politics and finance worldwide must be EXHAUSTING. Give it up for the world's men, everyone!

Joking aside, more people have a mobile phone, these days, than a toilet. Not having access to a toilet leads, as regular readers should be well aware of by now, to a high risk of contracting several very unpleasant and dangerous diseases. For women, not having access to a toilet can also mean being at greater risk of being raped. As if that risk weren't great enough already.
As Jezebel writer Jia Tolentino says:

I spent a year living with a cell phone but no toilet once. Coincidentally—as coincidentally as the coincidence of [World Toilet Day and International Men's Day]—that was also a year in which I became extremely afraid of men.

In other words, the causes of hygiene and gender equality are intertwined - both are vital to human health and happiness!

In the interest of highlighting World Toilet Day, two of our intrepid correspondents braved the inclement weather and went to the sewage treatment plant in Källby, outside Lund, today! They were treated to an excellent and highly informative tour by a rampantly intellectual guide called Hanna! Hurrah!

No trip to the sewage treatment plant is complete without getting lost in the wild and savage woods surrounding Lund. Here's how happy our brave contributors were to find a sign saying "Reningsverket"!

The first part of the sewage treatment is getting rid of large objects by letting the sewage pass through a three-millimetre grid. After that, the sewage runs into these tanks, where grit is allowed to sink to the bottom and eventually get carted away and used for construction.

Things you should never, ever flush down the toilet include pantyliners. Like the one seen in this positively poetic picture showing November sunlight reflecting off some sewage!

Other things you should definitely not be putting down the bog are condoms. Apparently the inhabitants of Lund are more than averagely festive, and discard a fair few this way! (Don't get us wrong - condoms are an important tool in the battle against venereal disease. Like for instance our favourite disease syphilis or, to pluck a disease at random, genital herpes. But don't flush them down the damn toilet!)

More poetic sunlight reflecting off the tanks. We might have remembered what happens in these ones three hours ago, pre-pub, but now we're pretty much fucked, memory-wise. (At some point iron (III) chloride is added to the proceedings, which makes for a festive atmosphere down at the sewage treatment plant. It is definitely not here, however.)

Woof! "What happens here?" you might be asking yourself. A more adequate question would be, "What DOESN'T HAPPEN?" As far as we remember, bacteria live in these aerated tanks, and do unspeakably exciting things to phosphorus! WOOF!!!

Something else happens here. Possibly a certain amount of litres of water pass through this bit of the plant per minute. There was a mighty roar!

This is the final product and, if we remember what our knowledgeable and rampantly intellectual guide Hanna told us, this sludge is Revaq certified and can be used as fertiliser. The tank itself looks like something out of Dante's Inferno. (DON'T DROP YOUR PHONE HERE.)


Somewhere in the vicinity of this giant white cylinder, biogas is extracted. For instance, many of Lund's festive green buses run on biogas.

A Privy Counsel representative with our knowledgeable and rampantly intellectual guide, Hanna!

It seems wrong to NOT put rum in this mug!
In semi-related news, here's how one Privy Counsel member saw fit to celebrate World Toilet Day - with rum, and Caitlin Moran merchandise, in a glorious combination! Right on, sistah!
(As many of you know, Caitlin Moran sells awesome stuff for the benefit of Refuge, one of the many women's shelter organisations. (If you're feeling intellectually motivated, ponder for a moment why it is that there are so, so many women's shelters in this world.))

We spent a long time trying to think of a suitable Festive Video, possibly one illustrating a concept such as sanitation, handwashing, or non-violence. Unfortunately, however, we preceded our visit to the pub with a visit to the blood donation centre at the hospital (this is a Very Bad Idea, by the way - one should never, ever consume alcoholic beverages after giving blood), and we've been a bit unfocused ever since. So we're going to go with this song, simply because we think it's awesome. We could all do with some Marvin Gaye getting it on - just DON'T FLUSH CONDOMS DOWN THE TOILET! And remember that no means no! (And an absence of a rampantly enthusiastic YES! also means no.)

Festive video - Charlie Puth, Marvin Gaye

Related Reading
All posts featuring World Toilet Day

One of our favourite Toilet Day posts ever, featuring a rampant Australian talking passionately about methane gas

Information about World Toilet Day from Water Aid

If you have access to clean water, celebrate by joining the conga line in the Cholera Babe Parade!

Caitlin Moran's merchandise for the benefit of Refuge

The Refuge webiste

The sewage treatment plant in Källby

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