A genetically engineered pig, labeled Enviropig, was recently approved for limited production in Canada because it makes urine and feces that contains up to sixty-five percent less phosphorous, Canadian officials have announced.
A lack of toilets is severely jeopardizing the health of 2.6 billion people in the developing world who are forced to discard their excrement, or feces, in bags, buckets, fields, and ditches.
"The lack of a safe, private, and convenient toilet is a daily source of indignity and undermines health, education, and income generation," according to Beyond Scarcity: Power, Poverty, and the Global Water Crisis, a report commissioned by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Much of Europe and North America built sanitation systems in the 1800s to keep humans and their drinking water away from pathogen-bearing fecal matter that can transmit cholera, diarrhea, typhoid, and parasites.
Nearly every other person in the developing world today lacks access to improved sanitation, and 1.1 billion people, one-sixth of the world's population, get their water from sources contaminated by human and animal feces, the report says.
Irrigation is the primary agricultural use of human waste in the developing world; however, frequently untreated human feces harvested from latrines is delivered to farms and spread as fertilizer.
Facing water shortages and escalating fertilizer costs, farmers in developing countries are using raw sewage to irrigate and fertilize nearly forty-nine million acres (20 million hectares) of cropland.