We love the innovative biogas pit latrines being pioneered by Soft Power Health and Education in Jinja, Uganda, and by other projects in sub-saharan Africa. This invention not only disposes of, but actually utilises human waste (yes – of the toilet variety) to benefit small communities.
How it works
. Waste from the toilet goes into the biogas digester.
. Other organic waste – e.g. kitchen waste, dead plants, animal dung – can be mixed with water and put into the digester.
. The contents of the digester are broken down in a process called anaerobic digestion, which kills the bacteria.
. The gas produced during digestion process, rises to the top and can be used for cooking or lighting.
. The solid waste can either be used as an efficient fertiliser, or can be put back into the digester.
The equipment for a biogas latrine is quite costly and the projects are often funded by external bodies. However, it is important that the local communities are involved in consultations and in every step of implementation so that they actively manage the latrine system once it is installed.
Article by Sarah Zuñiga