World Toilet Day, an official United Nations international observance day, is being celebrated worldwide every 19th of November and it inspires action to tackle the increasingly-alarming global crisis on sanitation.
The world day's official website says that at the moment, 4.5 billion people live without a household toilet that safely disposes of their waste.
The Sustainable Development Goals, launched by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015, are made up of 17 global goals and one of them is to ensure everyone has access to a safely-managed household toilet by 2030. This makes sanitation central to eradicating extreme poverty.
But you might be asking... where does our shit really go right after we flush the toilet button? Does the process differ between a well-sanitized and not so well-sanitized country? And how is Qatar taking good care of the waste of its almost 3M inhabitants—and counting—as of February 18, 2019?
First things first, let's answer the main concern of this article.
When you press the flush button, your wee, poo, toilet paper and water go down a pipe called a "sewer." The toilet flushes the wastes called "sewage" down the pipe.
The sewage flows downhill. They join those from other homes and flow into bigger sewer pipes. The big sewer pipes take all the sewage to a place where it is treated. This place is called a "sewage treatment plant" (STP). All towns and cities have these—including the rather-tiny Doha. They are like a big factory where any harmful materials are removed.
For a small yet progressive country like Qatar, the sanitation process is quite commendable as the tiny Gulf peninsula is blessed with not just one, but three sewage treatment plants.
According to World Toilet Day official, the journey of poop in order for humankind to reach the peak of proper sanitation by the year 2030 is by sticking to these four steps:
Poop must be deposited into a hygienic toilet and stored in a sealed pit or tank, separated from human contact.
Pipes or latrine emptying services must move the poo to the treatment stage.
Poo must be processed into treated wastewater and waste products that can be safely returned to the environment.
Safely treated poo can be used for energy generation or as fertilizer in food production.
The construction projects of STPs are considered some of the largest and most important projects implemented by the Infrastructure Affairs at the Public Works Authority, in terms of the large volume of implemented works and the projects’ cost that reaches billions of Qatari Riyals.
Set up in 2009 by waste management company Veolia, the DSWTP was one of the country's main STPs way back 2013 when only 1.3M people are calling it home.
It is the second largest wastewater treatment plant operated by Veolia in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and the first Operations Contract for Veolia in Qatar.
The plant offers water, sludge and odour treatment.
Dubbed as the largest operating STP in the country, the DWWT is equipped with a state-of-the-art membrane ultrafiltration system, which allows 100% of treated wastewater to be recycled. The water thus recycled is reused to agriculture, irrigation of green areas, market gardens and to aquifers recharge.
Reused wastewater is used by DWWT in three ways:
The DNSTP is one of the most prominent STPs in the Qatari capital; being the first STP in the country to use advanced treatment techniques such as ultrafiltration and ultra-violet technologies to produce high quality reclaimed water for reuse in irrigation purposes. It is located in Umm Salal Ali, 25 km to the North of Doha.
The first phase of the project includes the construction of the main treatment plant for the reception and treatment of sewage, which has been designed to treat up to 245,000 m3 of sewage per day, serving a projected population of over 900,000 people by the year 2020.
The project primarily serves the city of Doha and its neighbouring suburbs, comprising Umm Salal, Gharafa, Semiesma and Lusail.
The construction of the DNSTP was completed during the last quarter of 2017 and is worth approximately 3.63 billion Qatari Riyals.
Now that you know where the final destination of the waste of Qatar's constantly increasing population count is, it might be worth knowing as well that in rural areas where houses are spaced so far apart that sewer system would be too expensive to install, people install their own private STPs—called "septic tanks."
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