Master’s student Aaron Bivins spent part of his summer traveling to Mozambique with School of Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Joe Brown. Along with a team of undergraduate and graduate students, they were laying the groundwork for a study about the relationship between population density and the health effects of sanitation.
For many civil engineers, the facts describing the lack of adequate water and sanitation for much of the world’s population are ordinary news — the World Health Organization reports 2.5 billion people lack any improved form of sanitation, 1 billion people practice open defecation, and 748 million people lack access to an improved water source.
The danger is that we engineers might mistake an appreciation of the statistics for an appreciation of the realities faced by those living without these most basic of needs. My travel to Maputo, Mozambique, in the summer of 2014 convinced me that the two must never be confused.