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Composting Latrines in the Developing World

Problems with Conventional Systems

The conventional on-site sanitation methods of most urban dwellers in developing countries (latrines, aqua privies, and septic tanks) can cause groundwater pollution, fail to prevent disease, and waste nutrients like nitrates and phosphates, organic material and potable water. The reuse of nutrient-filled waste is a logical option for fertilization. However, many countries often dispose of, or reuse fecal sludge untreated. This leads to major health concerns for the community.

An Ideal Solution: Out with the old, in with the new!

An ecological option must include a ‘closed loop’ system that reduces water use and pollution, treats the waste to prevent disease, and reuses the treated waste for fertilizer. A system that includes these goals is the composting toilet. It is an option that is both economical and ecological.
There are several options for composting latrines; the type chosen should fit with the community’s geographical area, climate, culture, and economic situations.