Do The Math

Rose BowlThis thought occurred to me recently so I looked up some information on the Internet and did the math. No, this article isn’t about equations and you don’t have to do any math. The Rose Bowl enters into the picture later. Try to get past the shock of this next sentence; the article isn’t as disgusting as it implies.

The normal adult bladder can hold about 500ml. This is about 16 oz or 1 pint. (Maybe that’s why they call kids “half pint?”)  Also, apparently people pee between 6 and 8 times per day (more if they drink a lot like my college roommate) but we are a healthy society (achemmm…) and to make the math easy, let’s say 8.

So, 1 pint times 8 pees (and there are 8 pints per gallon) means we pee about a gallon of urine per day. A gallon. Multiply that by 365 days per year and an average lifespan of 69 years and it comes to about 25,000 gallons of urine in our lifetimes. Wow. Be kind to your kidneys. They are your friends.

Now let’s look at it a different way. The world population is estimated at 7.49 billion people. That means the world just composed of people (no dogs or birds or lions or bears or fish) urinated 7.49 billion gallons EACH DAY! Holy cow (no cows either). I’m amazed that the planet recycles that much pee every day.

So how much is 7.49 billion gallons? Is there something comparable in size that we could visualize?  Online information states that Lake Erie is 127.6 trillion gallons so that’s way too large.  Lake Tahoe is 39 trillion so that’s also too much.  The Niagara Falls website states that every second 757,500 gallons of water goes over the falls.  Per day that comes to 65.45 billion gallons.  That’s closer.  We humans of the world reach that Niagara Falls daily amount in 11.4 days.

Let’s try this: How would 7.49B gallons compare to the volume of a stadium? I picked one and looked it up – the Rose Bowl. Surprisingly there isn’t a lot of information about the Rose Bowl’s volume online, but one place said its about 20 million cubic feet. That equals about 149.6 million gallons. Divide 7.49 billion into that and you get 50.07 Rose Bowls. Let’s call it a smidge over 50. So the world population pees enough, each day, to fill a smidge over 50 Rose Bowl Stadiums. And yes, that comes to about 18,274 stadiums per year of human pee that is released on the world.

No more math, I won’t calculate what percentage of water that is on Earth or how long it would take to replace the Pacific Ocean, but that the Earth recycles this much pee daily is pretty impressive. Also, it makes you wonder what exactly is in the rain.

There, that wasn’t so disgusting, right?



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