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By the gardener
Prompted by mentions of the next census on this forum I've been doing a bit of research. It's been said before that measuring sewage is probably one of the best ways to gauge the population of a country. Everyone, great or small, has to shit. Even allowing for an increase of greedy fuckers we can arrive at a figure for the amount of crap produced per person per year.
I found this document:
Sewage Treatment in the UK, UK Implementation of the EC Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive, Published by DEFRA.
In 1999 the UK produced 1,130,066 tonnes of sludge dry solids. This averages to about 20kg generated by each person.
1992 997,673 1996/97 1,115,100 1999/00 1,130,066
At 20Kg per person per year this translates into population figures of: 49.9 million, 55.7 million, 56.5 million
According to official figures the population of the UK in those years was 57.4 million, 58.3 million, 58.7 million
The greater discrepancy between population estimates from sewage compared to official figures in 1992 can be explained by higher standards of treatment generating more sludge.
Fast forward to 2015 and we have: Unlocking the Full Energy Potential of Sewage Sludge, Research Engineer - Nick Mills Doctor of Engineering 2015
"The UK produces approximately 1.7 million dry tonnes of sewage sludge every year"
Now, at 20kg per person that gives a population estimate of 85 million. against an official figure of 64.7 million.
Of course we should expect that sewage treatment improvements will have resulted in greater sludge being produced but I wonder just how much more this is. Are we recovering 26.3 Kg of dry sludge per person (> 30% increase in sludge recovery), are people eating (and shitting) more - food sales figures might give some insight into that.
If we can get figures on sludge recovery from sewage we might be able to get a more accurate figure.
I think 85 million is too high but who knows? I'm pretty sure most people think it's > 70 million though.
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