Green..? Better flush that toilet away...

A study conducted by Maj-Britt Quitzau, an environmental sociologist with the National Environmental Research Institute of Denmark suggested that 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 are more environment friendly. The study also suggests that after decades of flushing, it will take radical innovations for the mainstream West to adopt any new system.

Scientists have long known that flushing away human waste comes with environmental consequences, such as using precious, potable water. Each year, a typical person will use almost 4,000 gallons of drinking water to flush away 75 pounds of feces and 130 gallons of urine, according to a 2001 study by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency. While drinking-water shortages plague millions in such places as India and in some African nations, Westerners continue to oppose alternatives to the flushing toilet.

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