Composting latrine vs. flush toilet in Bangladesh

The composting pit latrine has long been the gold standard for sanitation in global development as well as in Bangladesh . SOIL builds an easy-to clean model with centralized composting stations in Haiti, Toilets for People has its own version, Practical Action has ecological sanitation plans in our Solutions Library, and we feature all of these models in our Solutions Library, including this one that turns waste into bio gas for heating and cooking. But some aspects of the composting latrine's performance and how it compares to flush toilets are not so well known. A new study aims to investigate, and researchers are seeking funding from the crowd to cover the expense.

What we know is that composting toilets have clear ecological and economical advantages over flush toilets. They turn waste into compost, and the compost can fertilize crops, completing a circle of nutrients that saves soils and saves money. They save money in the costs of sewage and in fertilizer. Importantly, they also require much less water.

 Those arguments for composting latrines are well documented and have been made for years, but how do they compare in hygiene and how do they fare within the cultures of the different people in Bangladesh who use them? Do they limit the spread of disease as well as a flush system with a septic tank or a sewer might? And do they feel as comfortable for families to use? Are they as accessible? And are they really the most sustainable solution in global sanitation?

In this composting pit latrine design, when waste has filled the first pit, the latrine is moved over the second pit. The first pit converts to compost and can be emptied to fertilize fields

Information from: E4C

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