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Pulitzer Center Update June 17, 2010

The World's Toilet Crisis


Peter Sawyer, Pulitzer Center

Correspondent Adam Yamaguchi tackles the global sanitation crisis head on in the new documentary, "The World's Toilet Crisis" that CurrentTV recently broadcast as part of the Vanguard Documentary Series. Lisa Biagiotti, a past Pulitzer Center grant recipient who covered HIV-AIDS and homophobia in Jamaica, produced the work.

Sanitation is not easy to talk about in polite company. Yamaguchi dispenses with pleasantries, calling the brown pasty piles he sees along the river banks what they are — "shit."

The direct approach works. From the Indian slums where human feces mingle with drinking water to the latest in affordable toilet technology created by social-minded entrepreneurs, the documentary both lays out the severity of the problem and explains promising solutions.

Sanitation is an issue for the 40% of the world's population that don't have access to modern facilities. Partly as a result, 4,500 people die everyday due to easily preventable water-related illness.

Initially aired on CurrentTV, you can catch the film at the CurrentTV website, Hulu, YouTube, or watch the embedded version above.

To learn more about the global sanitation crisis, visit DOWNSTREAM to see Pulitzer Center reporting on the issue.


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