American Standard Brands announced its recent participation as an exhibitor at the Reinvent the Toilet Fair: India event, which was co-hosted by the Government of India’s Department of Biotechnology and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. American Standard displayed an affordable, aspirational sanitation product designed to meet the needs of people in Sub-Saharan Africa, where water is scarce.
The goal of the Reinvent the Toilet Fair: India was to stimulate discussion and spur partnerships to improve global sanitation and bring affordable sanitation solutions to people who need it most. Also supported by the Indian Ministry of Urban Development, the fair served as an opportunity to recognize India’s leadership and commitment to improving child health and fostering innovative solutions to persistent development challenges. The American Standard project was one of approximately 50 exhibits on display during the two-day, invitation-only fair.
Funded by a grant from the Gates Foundation, a team of American Standard engineers visited Zambia and Kenya in the fall of 2013 to learn more about the sanitation inadequacies in this part of the world where there is a shortage of water. The company’s goal was to create a sanitation solution that enabled simple construction of a more hygienic latrine, improved the user experience, and supported a sustainable business model. This effort was modeled after American Standard’s previous success inventing the SaTo, a cost-effective sanitary toilet pan.This product employs ingeniously simple mechanical and water seals to reduce disease transmission by closing off pit latrines from the open air, for use in rural Bangladesh where no sewer infrastructure exists. This initiative also included the company’s Flush for Good campaign, aimed at raising awareness of the global sanitation crisis.
“Of the 1.1 billion people who defecate in the open, almost 60 percent are Indian,” said Professor K. VijayRaghavan, secretary of the Indian Department of Biotechnology. “Sanitation solutions using the latest technology need not be complex or driven by expensive gadgetry, but they need to be innovative and address the many aspects of this multifaceted problem.”
“Today, because of a lack of toilets and poorly functioning infrastructure, massive amounts of untreated waste winds up in the environment, spreading disease,” said Brian Arbogast, director of the Water, Sanitation & Hygiene team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “We are privileged to host the Reinvent the Toilet Fair: India with our partners to advance conversations about sanitation – it is a testament to the Indian government’s commitment to improving how we deal with this pressing problem.”
Lack of adequate sanitation facilities affects 40 percent of the world’s population, with 1.2 billion people worldwide practicing open defecation. Each day, 2,000 people die from water and sanitation related diseases – most of them are children. To help alleviate the critical lack of safe sanitation facilities specifically in India, American Standard and its manufacturing partner, RFL Plastics, will make SaTo pans available in this country for an affordable cost, with the goal of building a sustainable business that will ensure future availability of this life-saving product.
“American Standard is committed to working with communities around the world to develop safe and affordable sanitation solutions,” said Jay Gould, president and CEO of American Standard. “We believe this important work will accomplish a great deal towards helping achieve the United Nations’ 2015 Millennium Development Goal of reducing by half the proportion of people who lack safe drinking water and basic sanitation by the year 2015.”
For more information on the Flush For Good campaign or the Reinvent the Toilet Fair, visit www.flushforgood.com.