World Toilet Day

From pit to product: how to deal with untreated toilet waste

From pit to product: how to deal with untreated toilet waste

In three quarters of the world’s countries less than 10% of the population has access to toilets that are connected, via sewers, to a waste water treatment plant. As urbanization races ahead of infrastructure development, the problem looks set to get worse.

Most toilets in poor countries drain into pits or septic tanks. When these get full, there is no option but to pump out the waste and dispose of it elsewhere. All too often it is simply dumped, untreated, into water courses or the sea. This degrades the environment, imperils public health and, because human waste contains high levels of nutrients, wastes a potentially valuable resource.

IWMI’s research into Resource Recovery and Re-Use (RRR) looks at how this waste could be converted to valuable fertilizer. It is comparing business models from around world to find viable solutions to manage waste and create jobs.

For World Toilet Day 2015 we explore the issue further and highlight some of the promising solutions that this initiative is identifying across Asia and Africa.

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