Special to LiveScience
Mon Jul 30, 9:15 AM ET
The Western World's dependence on flush toilets could be its environmental downfall.
Toilets that use less water, such as the "squat toilet" in which one squats over a hole in the ground, are prevalent in parts of Asia, Europe and Africa, but a new historical study suggests that after decades of flushing, it will take radical innovations for the mainstream West to adopt any new system.
"Most people can hardly imagine thathave ever existed," said study author Maj-Britt Quitzau, an environmental sociologist with the National Environmental Research Institute of Denmark. "But actually, systems did exist prior to the flushing toilet where human waste was collected within the cities and re-used in farming areas."