Carbon Cult: Ban flushing toilets

Pay per dump, and think of Gaia

Australians could face 'pay as you dump' charges as part of a Toilet Tax. It's all in the name of "sustainability" - and part of a growing eco-movement to replace flushing conveniences with smelly and unhealthy inconvenience.

Water use experts Mike Young and Jim McColl, of Adelaide University and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, respectively, presented new proposals to South Australia state parliament last week. The two renewed their call to create a market in sewerage, with the pricing element controlling scarcity. Such ideas aren't new, but they've been given a boost in recent years by a parallel movement.

Sanitation saves lives, but UN-funded quangos which were once dedicated to improving human health now have mixed priorities. Take this example from the "Sustainable Sanitation Alliance":

"In order to be sustainable, a sanitation system has to be not only economically viable, socially acceptable, and technically and institutionally appropriate, it should also protect the environment and the natural resources."

The quango concludes, somewhat ruefully, that "there is probably no system which is absolutely sustainable".

It's a subtle difference in emphasis: from an optimistic vision in which simple technological innovation was used to reshape the planet for human happiness, innovation is now qualified in terms of environmental damage. It becomes a question of "balance", with human health now a factor in a trade-off.

Non-flushing loos are a feature of Britain's "Eco Towns", the harshly regulated and monitored new settlements proposed by the government. Here, where water is in abundance, they're needed to raise "awareness" of resource consumption. But the argument has now become entrenched in development, illustrated by a new documentary Flush It!:

An African mother points out:

"It's not only money that's stopping development any more, it's ideas and organisations telling us we need to consume less, and we don't need what the west has."

Prepare for the War on Toilets. ®

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