Image credit: Joe Jenkins
The shocking photo above is of gigantic piles of human feces left in the open air at a dump in Haiti. While some in the "developed world" (I always hated that term), may turn their noses up when we recommend composting toilets as a solution to dealing with human waste, in disaster-hit areas like post-earthquake Haiti, they can literally be a life saving and easily scalable technology. I've just come across a great series of videos from Mr Humanure himeself, Joe Jenkins, establishing safe, effective humanure composting in the camps of Haiti. From biogas to rocket stoves to solar panels, we've already seen lots of examples of simple, sustainable techniques and technologies being used for disaster relief in Haiti.
But among the most critical issues facing large camps like those in Haiti has got to be waste and sanitation. Working with GiveLove.org, author of the Humanure Handbook Joe Jenkins—whose video tips on how to manage humanure, and the commercially-available $195 Lovable Loo have featured before on Treehugger—demonstrates that far from being a niche idea for back-to-the-land hippies, proper composting of human waste is about as sane and logical a method for dealing with our waste that there is.
In a situation where there are no sewers, and human waste is already being carted off and essentially dumped, the idea of establishing simple, easy to maintain systems for composting large amounts of human waste is basically dynamite.
It sure as heck beats pooping in your drinking water.
More on Composting Toilets and Humanure
Composting Toilets Can Be Plush and Fragrant
How to Manage Humanure (Video)
A Composting Toilet for $195: The Lovable Loo (Video)