More on Composting Toilets and Humanure in Haiti (Video)


Image credit: New York Times/Nicholas Kristoff

Some time ago I posted on the efforts of Joe Jenkins and GiveLove.org to promote humanure composting toilets in Haiti. But this was nothing new. In fact, one of the non-profit partners behind that initiative had been promoting humanure and safe composting of human waste in Haiti for years. And they're beginning to achieve a lot of recognition for it.

The video above comes from Nicholas Kristoff's "On The Ground" series for the New York Times and was shot back in March 2009. Even before the devastating earthquake, Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods (SOIL) was working hard to alleviate sanitation issues and increase local resilience and sustainable agriculture in Haiti.

Since the earthquake, SOIL has worked in partnership with GiveLove.org and Joe Jenkins—humanure pioneer and author of The Humanure Handbook—to significantly ramp up their capabilities and address the urgent needs of Haiti's displaced populations.

National Geographic just ran a profile of SOIL's founder—ecologist Dr Susanna Kramer—naming her as an "Emerging Explorer", and highlighting why composting toilets are much more than just a sanitation issue:

Can that fertilizer change a nation? To appreciate the potential impact, consider this: Haitian farmers can afford only one kilogram of nitrogen per hectare; most use none at all. By comparison, Mexican farmers use 200 kilograms per hectare. Kramer calculates that if Haiti recycled 50 percent of the nutrients in human waste onto farmland, input would leap to 17 kilograms per hectare. "When land is fertilized for the first time you get a huge jump in production, so a 17-fold increase would have significant results."

If humanure can take off in Haiti, maybe Brian is right that composting toilets could be coming to a city near you too.

More on Humanure and Composting Toilets
Promoting Humanure Composting in Haiti
Composting Toilets on the Rise: Are They Coming to a City Near You?
How to Manage Humanure (Video)
How to Build a Tree Bog Composting Toilet

Tags: Agriculture | Composting Toilets | Farming | Haiti | Permaculture | Poverty

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