EAWAG Aquatic Research in Switzerland has been working with UN Habitat to devise low cost ways to make bio-available fertilizers from Urine. Their method involves precipitating out solid Struvite (~MgNH4PO4·6H2O) by adding Magnesium to raw urine. This method seems to be promising and requires no complex machinery or electricity.
The big challenges appear to include sourcing of a Magnesium feedstock and making it cost effective/competitive. In this pilot project UN Habitat got it from a salt manufacturing plant in India but clearly there must be other solutions found to make this a replicable decentralizable project (they had issues transporting the salt brine across the border too). Apparently, selling this product at the market value would not necessarily lead to recovered costs and eventually profit. The researchers working on this project suggest that the costs of environmental issues like waste diversion and decentralized production be taken into account but I’m not sure how that will happen…
Here is a link to an informative poster about this pilot project
how it is done
SOS Mata Atlantica, a Brazillian NGO, has launched a campaign to urge people to save water by urinating in the shower. They are running TV ads on major stations that depict cartoon characters (from people young and old to aliens – even king kong) urinating in the shower. This is a really great ad and peeing in the shower could save a significant amount of water over the course of time…
One of the difficult issues facing governments, development agencies, and public health professionals alike is how to get people to poop in latrines. Authorities in Kitgum Uganda have resorted to arresting people without latrines. 29 people thus far have been reportedly arrested and will be forced to do community service and build a latrine (Daily Monitor, 8/3/09). Having been to Kitgum, a place where most of the population has been displaced in camps for years, I am really impressed that they are taking the initiative to prioritize sanitation. May be it is the fear of another Hep E outbreak? May be authorities are just fed up with dealing with cholera each and every year? I wonder how long this “by-law” will be enforced? Will it really work?
Law enforcement in Northern Uganda is surely not efficient and I doubt they will devote too much time to rounding up non-latrine-owners. This type of action could however be part of a larger campaign to create social stigma around open defecation. Many education campaigns and approaches like Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) aim to get the community to identify their state of sanitation and propose solutions to move forward. Could law enforcement from the top help this in any way?
Latrine in Northern Uganda (Gulu/Amuru District)