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发布时间:2018-02-20 13:55:01

原标题:Bilingual·Foreign Business | 厕所创新:化腐朽为神奇

大家好!“外企头条”栏目又跟大家见面了。

这个周末,我们推出科技作者阿里亚·本迪克斯写的一篇文章“未来厕所:能做的不只是冲走粪便”。每天,大约有 200万吨的人类排泄物进入下水道后会发生什么?

请看详细报道↓↓

未来厕所:能做的不只是冲走粪便

The Toilet of Tomorrow Will Do More Than Flush Waste

↑Peter Janicki设计的omni-processor,它能将干燥的粪便和污泥转化为热量和电力。

当我们谈论地球所面临的最严重威胁时,首先想到的很少会是恶劣卫生条件带来的问题。

When we think about the most dire threats to our planet, poor sanitation rarely tops the list.

然而不论是在农村还是城市,糟糕的卫生条件都是导致疾病和污染的重要原因,在某些情况下,甚至是直接原因。

And yet it’s a significant (and in some cases immediate) contributor to sickness and pollution in both rural and urban areas.

每天,大约有 200万吨的人类排泄物进入下水道。

Every day, around 2 million tons of human waste are disposed of in water channels.

这一卫生问题也是限制发展中国家安全饮水供应的一个重要因素,因为这些国家往往缺乏适当的污水处理系统和排水设施。

Among other contributing factors, this sanitation problem limits the availability of uncontaminated drinking water—especially in developing nations, which often lack the proper treatment and drainage facilities.

目前全球有25亿人无法使用良好的卫生设施,而发展中国家中27% 的城市居民家中没有自来水供应。

Overall, 2.5 billion people around the world currently lack access to improved sanitation, and 27 percent of urban dwellers in developing nations do not have access to piped water in their homes.

在美国的城市中,这些卫生问题同样存在,只是规模要小得多。

These sanitation issues apply to U.S. cities as well—albeit on a much smaller scale.

随着美国城市人口的不断增长,人们对清洁用水的需求也在增加。

As America’s urban populations continue to grow, so too does the demand for clean water.

据美国政府问责局报告显示,在未来 10 年里,美国有 40 个州将面临或轻或重的缺水问题。

The U.S. Government Accountability Office reports that 40 states will experience some kind of water shortage in the next 10 years.

基础设施问题会对未建制社区的水质产生负面影响,我的同事劳拉·布利斯(Laura Bliss)在其关于加州圣华金河谷水危机的系列文章中记录了同样的问题。

These shortages negatively impact water quality in unincorporated communities, as my colleague Laura Bliss has chronicled in her series on the water crisis in California’s San Joaquin Valley.

与此同时,因为过量的地下水或暴雨雨水,城市下水道系统还会面临堵塞和溢出进入河流的风险。

Meanwhile, urbanized areas run the risk of sewer systems clogging and spilling over into rivers and streams due to excessive groundwater or stormwater.

据美国环境保护署(EPA)估计,在美国每年有约 2.3 万至 7.5万个下水道系统存在溢流问题。

The EPA estimates anywhere from 23,000 to 75,000 overflows of sanitary sewer systems each year in the U.S.

因此,有效的基础设施对保持水质和防止清洁饮水短缺问题至关重要。

The right infrastructure becomes critical in preserving water quality and preventing a shortage of clean drinking water.

不幸的是,当今城市使用的大部分相关技术都已经落后于最新的科技发展。

Unfortunately, most of the technology employed by cities today lags behind the latest innovations.

厕所创新

Reinventing the toilet

目前,环卫设施中只存在一个标准:发达城市中早已建立的合流制下水道系统。

Currently, only one gold standard for sanitation exists: the combined sewer system that is already in place in developed cities.

玛丽·安娜·埃文斯在9 月的《大西洋月刊》上发表的一篇文章中,这样描述这个“现代”技术最初的设计:

In a September post for The Atlantic, author Mary Anna Evans describes the initial design of this “modern” technology:

美国环境保护署称这是“国家早期基础设施的残余物”。

The EPA calls combined sewers “remnants of the country's early infrastructure.”

第一批下水道并不是为处理厕所里源源不断排放的排泄物而设计的,因为它们被发明的时候人类还没有发明马桶。

The first sewers weren’t designed to handle the constant and huge stream of wastes from our toilets, because they were invented when we didn’t have any toilets.

最初人们建造下水道的目的,是为了在暴雨期间避免人类制造的垃圾、动物粪便和人类排泄物等遗留在茅厕外面,污染公共区域。

Sewers were originally built to solve the problems of cities that were flooded with their own refuse—garbage, animal manure, and human waste left in the open rather than in a privy or latrine—during every rainstorm.

直至今日,城市还在依赖这种马桶发明前的古老技术,这一事实足以说明这个系统有多过时。

The fact that cities still rely on a technology that predates toilets points to just how archaic this system has become.

布莱恩·阿伯加斯特是负责水源、卫生与清洁项目的项目主任。

Brian Arbogast, the director of the Water, Sanitation & Hygiene Program at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation。

他说:“对于改变发达国家的环境卫生系统,人们并没有看到明显的市场需求。合流制下水道系统会耗费大量水资源和能源,长远来看,还会对我们的环境构成严重威胁。”

He says that “there’s not an obvious market demand for changing the way we do sanitation in the developed world. And yet combined sewer systems expend huge amounts of water and energy, in turn posing a serious long-term threat to our environment.”

在过去的几年中,阿伯加斯特和他的团队与合作伙伴致力开发新的环卫技术。

For the past few years, Arbogast and his team have worked with partners to develop new sanitation technologies.

其中最有前景的一款“创新厕所”拥有像废物处理厂一样的功能。

One of the most promising is a “reinvented toilet” that essentially functions as its own treatment plant.

其设计理念来自于一项倡议——“厕所创新大赛”,这项倡议的目标是为无法获得完善卫生设施的全球 25 亿人口提供可持续的优良卫生设施。

The concept is part of a broader initiative called the “Reinvent the Toilet Challenge” that aims to deliver sustainable sanitation to the 2.5 billion people who lack access.

与传统的下水道系统不同,改造后的创新厕所可利用人类排泄物获取能量,用来杀灭水中的病菌。

Unlike traditional sewer systems, the reinvented toilet would harvest energy from actual human waste to kill germs in the water itself.

最终获得可供人洗涮使用的安全无菌水,而人类的粪便也能得到重新利用,成为一种健康、无臭的肥料。

The result is sterile water that’s safe enough to wash with, as well as human waste that can be re-purposed for healthy, odorless fertilizer.

这一发明的主要挑战是如何降低成本,使之能够在整座城市里普遍安装。

The main challenge is keeping costs low enough to reasonably implement the toilet across cities.

考虑到这一点,水源、卫生与清洁项目将设计成本限制在每个用户每天低于 5 美分,与许多发展中国家的公厕收费相当。

With this in mind, the Water, Sanitation & Hygiene Program has priced it at no more than five cents per user per day—the same cost as many public toilets in developing nations.

Janicki Bioenergy制造公司 开发了一款名为Omni Processor 的废物处理设备,将粪便转化为安全饮用水。

The manufacturing company Janicki Bioenergy on a device called the Omni Processor, which is able to convert feces into safe drinking water.

这款设备的蒸汽机通过燃烧人类排泄物来获取能源,这样一来,在城市或城镇,人们就不必消耗柴油等燃料。

The device’s steam engine makes its own energy for burning human waste so cities or towns don’t have to resort to energy-draining activities like burning diesel fuel.

Omni Processor 最近已经被安装在塞内加尔的首都达喀尔进行试点,最终计划将其销售到较富裕的国家。

The Omni Processor was recently implemented in Dakar, Senegal, through an auspicious pilot program, with plans to eventually sell the product to wealthier nations.

如果发展中国家正转向使用最新的环卫技术,为什么发达城市却迟迟没有行动呢?

Developing cities as sanitation testing grounds If developing nations are turning toward new sanitation technology, why isn’t this shift happening in developed cities as well?

一个显而易见的原因是,发达城市已经具备了自以为最有效的下水道系统。

One obvious explanation is that developed cities already have a functioning sewer system.

但阿伯加斯特认为,真正的答案不仅在于“发达城市并未真正具备创新精神”。

But the real answer, Arbogast says, goes beyond the fact that “developed cities aren’t really innovating.”

他认为,新技术必须在发展中国家经过测试之后,发达国家才会去效仿。

He contends that new technology will have to be tested in developing nations before developed ones are likely to follow suit.

他说:“我坚信,一旦这项技术能够在(发展中国家)市场上得到推广,城市的建筑法规就会相应地做出改变,开始鼓励人们使用无水厕所或减轻废水处理厂的负荷。”

“I firmly believe,” he says, “that if this technology can get out there in the market [in developing countries] ,you’ll start to see building codes changing to incentivize the use of waterless toilets or to take the load off waste water treatment plants.”

在此之前,我们最需要关注的还是发展中城市。世界卫生组织报告显示,每年有 340 万人(大部分为儿童)死于与水有关的疾病,譬如霍乱、痢疾或伤寒。

Until then, it’s developing cities that require the most attention. The World Health Organization reports that 3.4 million people—mainly children—die each year from water-related diseases like cholera, dysentery, or typhoid.

阿伯加斯特说,在孟加拉达卡这样的城市,只有 2% 的废弃物被运送到工厂里进行处理。

In a city like Dhaka, Bangladesh, Arbogast says, only 2 percent of waste is being treated at a plant.

在许多情况下,化粪池只是将人类排泄物直接运到街道上,导致城市居民接触到许多病原体。

And in many cases, septic tanks carry human waste directly into the street—leaving city residents exposed to numerous pathogens.

阿伯加斯特说:“没有一个社区能在未解决卫生问题的前提下摆脱贫困问题。”

“No community has ever put themselves out of poverty without addressing sanitation,” Arbogast says.

虽然这些卫生问题十分严峻,但可持续发展的卫生设施问题很少成为全球讨论的焦点。

As dire as these circumstances may be, sustainable sanitation is rarely the focus of global discussions.

在巴黎气候变化大会期间,阿伯加斯特就卫生问题与气候变化之间的关系发表了讲话,希望能在国际范围上引起对该问题的关注。

During COP21, Arbogast gave a talk on the relationship between sanitation and climate change in hopes of landing the issue on the international radar.

阿伯加斯特表示,在会议上,许多人得知这两者之间的联系竟如此直接,带来的危害如此严重时,都十分惊讶。

At the conference, Arbogast says, many were surprised to hear how direct and devastating the link has become.

尽管人们对发展中地区的卫生问题很熟悉,但许多与会者都忽视了合流制下水道系统所带来的能源消耗和水资源消耗问题。

Despite being familiar with the sanitation problem in developing communities, many conference-goers had overlooked the energy-draining and water-depleting activities of combined sewer systems.

幸运的是,我们醒悟得还不算太迟。随着一系列创新设计的推出,如 Omni Processor 和即将完成的创新厕所,城市可以开始考虑以更环保的设备来替换下水道系统。

Thankfully, these realizations are not too late. With innovations like the Omni Processor and the reinvented toilet on the cusp of completion, cities can start to think about replacing sewer systems with more environmentally friendly devices.

阿伯加斯特认为这些创新技术将在几年内上市销售。不管是发展中城市或是发达城市,那些将更新废物处理系统作为优先事项的城市肯定会对即将到来的环境挑战有更充分的准备。

Arbogast thinks these technologies will be ready for purchase in just a few years. Developed or not, those cities that make it a priority to update their waste disposal systems will certainly be more prepared for impending environmental challenges.

阿伯加斯特说:“如今,那些投资于建造无下水道环卫设施的城市会有更灵活的应对能力,尤其是在未来面临气候变化问题时,这一点会更加突出。”

“Cities that invest in non-sewer sanitation are going to be far more resilient both today,” Arbogast says, “and even more so in the face of climate change in the future.”

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Please vote for the report you like the most. We will provide the news your care the most.

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编辑 / 闫伟奇

来源 / 经济日报记者陈颐、朱琳

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