Sunday, December 9, 2007

A New Kind of Toilets Help Malawi

These are pretty cool. They're toilets deisgned to convert human waste into compost. They're designed for hygenic practice, environmental soundness and resource preservation. Further, the authors note the technology is appropriate in Malawi because people will occasionally plant trees on former pit latrines. It is gaining popularity in Malawi and in Madagascar, although the authors are careful to note that their product does not suit everybody. But I think these will come in handy - maybe they'll think about building them at schools, since we always hear about how schools need toilets so girls can attend without getting sick.


jhutch said...

Sanitation -essential to health.
The best type of toilet - to my knowledge - is the VIP sort, which has an internal pipe to ventilate the toilet (hence the name - VIP)
Also, the problem of siting toilets away from water sources..
Glad to comment - and to help, if I can.

Liz said...


Thanks for the comment. I did a little looking around at VIP toilets online. There are several YouTube videos of both VIP and EcoSan being built or demonstrated. People with both toilets look happier about the whole deal than the people with the traditional pit latrine.

I also read a couple of articles, and I think it might be hard to say that one is better than the other. It seems like it depends on the community and family's needs for the toilet, as well as their feelings on composting human waste and other cultural considerations. In the article I mentioned above, the authors were careful to note that the EcoSan would be successful in Malawi, where they already planted trees on former, filled pit latrines.

Yolanda Groenwald in Flush Toilets Still Considered Flash When it Comes to Toilets comments on the pros and cons of each in South Africa:

"Tiedt says municipalities opt for VIP toilets because they cost less: a composting toilet is about 370 dollars more expensive than a VIP toilet.

VIP toilets can also be used by a whole block of people inside a settlement, whereas it is recommended that a composting toilet be used by one family only.

However, when VIP toilets fill up after three to four years, government either has to empty them at great cost or move the toilets to another location. There have also been reports of VIP toilets not being installed properly, which leads to pollution of water resources."

Anonymous said...

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