Posts tagged with Native Peoples

Ecological Sanitation: save the precious water

Our world now faces a huge water crisis. I'm sharing here some work that helps especially poor and isolated peoples to maintain sanitation while conserving limited potable water. He is promoting Ecological Sanitation EcoSan.

You can find on his blog info about other useful EcoSan methods. Many of these he has designed himself, including simple and cheap systems to capture rainwater and dispense in hand washing stations.

I will post the link for the full article excerpted below. He has another article posted at that link.

Author: Christopher Canaday Affiliation and email: Omaere Ethnobotanical Park, Ecuador,,


Three different models of simple and inexpensive Urine-diverting Dry Toilets (UDDTs) are described: a portable one for squatting made from a barrel, another portable one made from wood and linoleum, and a permanent one for squatting made with palm wood. A simple, portable urinal made from two plastic bottles is also described. These can be made at very low cost, with abundant natural materials, salvaged post-consumer waste, and items that are readily purchased almost anywhere. They may be especially applicable in poor communities, slums, farms, disaster relief camps, and temporary events, plus they may be used to train and screen users before building more elegant UDDTs. With these designs, conversion to UDDTs may be more a matter of paradigm shift than capital investment.

· Urine may be diverted with standard plastic funnels or with ones cut from plastic bottles. · Urine may be stored in bottles for later use as fertilizer or it can be dispersed immediately via perforated hoses (at least in the Amazon) · Feces may be collected in sacks or buckets.

Diseases transmitted via feces, including diarrhea, hepatitis, typhoid, and intestinal worms, constitute one of the biggest threats to human health (Conant and Fadem 2008). Especially vulnerable are the people who live in large agglomerations under unsanitary conditions. In Developing Countries, most wastewater goes straight into the environment without treatment and many people do not even have access to the piped water needed to make such wastewater, so the fecal contamination of their environment is even more direct. Globally, an estimated 40% of people live without basic sanitation (UN-Habitat, 2003).

Urine-diverting Dry Toilets (UDDTs) have much to contribute in improving this situation, especially if they are: ü Very low in cost; ü Easily made from abundantly available (often recycled) materials; and ü (in some cases) Portable.

The UDDT is one technique of Ecological Sanitation (EcoSan), a practice in which excrement can be used as a resource for improving the soil, while applying natural processes to control the potential transmission of diseases (Winblad et al. 2004, Esrey et al. 1998). One of the least logical aspects of modern life is that of taking and purifying huge amounts of water, defecating in a large proportion of it, spending great sums of money to then try to purify it again, but never returning the nutrients to farmland, thus depending more and more on chemical fertilizers that are made and transported with non-renewable fossil fuels. To make things worse, pathogens develop resistance to the chemicals used to treat sewage and substances like antibiotics and artificial hormones cannot reliably be removed or degraded. These are the results of an irrational fear of our own excrement that leads us to do irrational things with it. In contrast, EcoSan is a way to control the real risks involved, and make our excrement safe to be added to the soil. In the case of water, everyone wants it clean, so it is best to simply not contaminate it with excrement.

The goal of this paper is to show that conversion to using UDDTs can be more a matter of shifting paradigms than capital investment. People can learn the concept and apply it on their own, with materials that they already have access to.


Ecological Sanitation: coming soon to this blog

Ecological Sanitation (EcoSan) allows peoples who are native/poor to have sanitation without the use of potable water In the next couple of days I will feature a guy who has helped many people by designing and building ecological sanitation. No, I don't agree with some of his ideas. But the EcoSan is pretty cool, it has changed the lives of many people from the poor coastal people of Ecuador to the native peoples of Brazil's western jungle.

EcoSan is intended to answer the question: how do you wash your hands and dispose of human waste when potable water is not available or is just too expensive.

I am posting this "coming attraction" because there may be some in the Lawrence/Haskell/KU community who would find this interesting.

Tune in soon.