Thursday, April 8, 2010

Hey! Who Put My Mineral Water in the Commode?

EACH and EVERY time I flush my commode and see gallons of fresh water mixing up with the dirt and draining down, my heart feels extremely sorry!!!

See this picture …

My friend, Tehmina, went to Kharo Chan, a small district in Sindh. It was a prosperous city in the 1950’s and is now in absolute ruins because of lack of water for survival of its inhabitants! Most of the population has migrated to urban areas, rather to the slums of urban areas which are no better than their old city. Why?


Contrary to what we are taught at school in social studies, development economics, etc, I believe that no matter how much population exists on the earth’s surface, there are enough resources for our survival both for the current inhabitants and the ones to come. However, today thousands and thousands of people die each year, not because there isn’t enough food or medicine in the world, No! it is because there is a flaw in the way we manage and consume resources!

Yes, taking fresh water for example. We all know of the water cycle on earth. The water in the rivers and streams are enough for us … But only if we use it well…

Now getting back to the subject of commodes… Here, in Pakistan, we are lucky enough to have natural water for consumption; water that has come down from the skies, trickled down the mountains and flowed in the streams. This kind of water has a natural combination of minerals which no human method of purification and mineralization can replicate. And I think it is simply FOLLY to use this precious gift of nature to wash your commodes!

So how do we do it then?

Well, this may sound far fetched but if I find a way of making this happen I shall do it at all costs.

This shank in my restroom (I opened to see how it contained water in itself), contains more than five litres of Fresh water! Just because this water is in here, it feels disgusting to some perhaps but people in many places of Pakistan yearn for even the kind of water shown in the first picture!

So here is my idea… we should use used up water to fill this shank up. When we wash our faces, the water that goes down the basin’s drain is clean enough for this. So, if I could I shall make a system through which my basin’s drain gets connected to this shank and directs water to it whenever I turn on the knob! :) Simple!

I just hope I engineer this kind of system soon because I really care for each and every drop of water that I have access too. The effort might just be a drop in the ocean, but sometimes, for some, even a drop is a life-saver.

PS : the water from our Wudhu too is pretty clear to serve the shank!


  1. a very very good idea!
    it was a pleasure to find somebody who cares and values the resources that we enjoy everyday.

    this article would definitely make the readers think of other resources that they waste everyday too, including electricity, fuel etc.

  2. the idea may not be very practical though, as stangnant unclean water in the shank may cause other problems.
    but i appreciate that you are, at least, concerned and thinking in this direction.

  3. thanks for the appreciation amna! it really means alot to me :)

    btw, i had thought of the stagnant water of being potentially problematic but in a house where there are about four more family members i am sure the frequency of flushing the commode would be way greater than that of washing hands/faces.. . so the water won't really sit stagnant for that long. though the shank may need regular cleaning but and i don't think that's an issue... we can clean it once in a while just as we clean our washroom. :)

  4. you're welcome, lady :D

    here's another one, which my friend saw on tv.
    the idea was of a Chinese girl i think, she said she keeps a bucket of water with her while taking the shower. and the water that gets collected in it is what she uses for flushing.

  5. ommggg, amna thats EXACTLY what i do!! i just thought that it would be kind of personal to put it here :)

  6. nice idea larki when u engineer it bring it to any venture capitalist! and about kharo chan my club visited the place as ADP had asked me to check on a school they built there few weeks ago...
    that brings me i hope they have biosand filters in kharo chan because ADP was taking initiative for it in jati village near thatta when i went there two yrs ago, they make water unfit for human consumption clean! it's amazing!

  7. i just hope that is happening amna.. but nevertheless, the water is drying up irregardless of it being dirty or pure because of the dams being created above it.

  8. Wow that's a great idea ! I'm actually gonna try doing it :)

  9. Yeeeaaayyy!! My picture steals the blog :P On a serious note, there have been often times when I, too have thought about it. When you have devised your water saving system Maryam, let me know. :)

  10. @ tehmina!! i definitely let you guys know when i do succeed in making it! and Yes! thank you very much for that photo of yours! really proves the current plea of the water-deprived people.

    and najwa, you have my Best Wishes!!! :)

  11. وكُلُواْ وَاشْرَبُواْ وَلاَ تُسْرِفُواْ
    Assalam u alaikum
    Jazakallah sister for the idea and for thinking like that. I thought of sharing the related Islamic teachings.
    “…eat and drink: But waste not by excess, for Allah loveth not the wasters”
    (Surat Al-A’raf, verse 31)
    لا تسرف في الوضوء ولو كنت على نهر جارٍ
    “Do not be wasteful when performing wudhu even if you were at a flowing river”
    (Musnad Ahmad)

    food of thought specially for you
    there are hundreds of reforms needed in our age and Islamic Shariah has all of them

  12. Walaikum Assalaam Ehsan,
    JazakAllah for supporting my idea and that too from the angle I secretly look at this issue from, Islam, that is.

    Indeed this idea of mine would never have come in to existence had my parents not taught me about what Allah says about being careful about our resources... it is nothing but Islam that inspires me, otherwise who likes taking pictures of one's commode and murky water!

  13. I have heard this thing that the water in our commodes is recycled, so we are flushing down the same water over and over again and its not from the oceans, get what i mean? I'm not sure if this is true.

    Anyhow great blog post! I am also trying to make people aware of the environmental hazards they're causing by their activities and I m glad to see you're concerned as well... :)

    Keep blogging!

  14. @ salma, that happens in developed countries, recycling sea water and used water both for consumption.. and in arab countries too where they have salty water only

    and thank god, we don't have this here in PAkistan.. can you trust them to recycle the commode water right!!? ewww

  15. I finally read this post, loved it! lol it's so nice to have a friend who shares your opinions about these kind of things :)

    about the limited natural resources, people should know that every year, if the amount of global food production is divided equally amongst all the world population, each person would get to consume over 3000 calories every day! that is 800 more than the requirement. this shows that the world is not poor, it is poorly managed.

    And by the way, from hunger and hunger related diseases alone, over 40,000 people die every day!

  16. yes ambreen, also, that these deaths are publicized nowhere because they aren't much of a spectacle like other deaths related to events like earthquakes, accidents, etc.

    40,000 a day is very disturbing!!! :(