Raquel Benson is a Senior Contributor to TDA, a journalism student, humanist, and artist with issues of chronic imagination. She may be brash, but it stems from a deeper concern for the world around her.
Environmental Issues – Haiti is redefining “recycling” as new public toilets have been developed to turn human waste into fertilizer. Since its recent natural disasters, the country’s farmland has degraded to nearly nothing and Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods (SOIL) have been hard at work installing these nifty new loo’s.
With 80 percent of Haiti’s population having zero access to sanitation, these people are left with no choice but to dispose of their waste in plastic bags, waterways, and even abandoned buildings-the existing toilets are nowhere near up to par and they flush waste into rivers.
Threat of disease runs high in places with poor sanitation since many life-threatening viruses are caused by water infected with fecal matter. Among these diseases is the deadly cholera-U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports this virus is at an epidemic level in Haiti with over 6000 fatalities over 420,000 sick.
Co-founder and soil ecologist at SOIL, Sasha Kramer explained that the new toilets do more than flush-they separate urine and feces before and then the waste is coated with dry material for better decomposition.
SOIL’s mission is expanding in Haiti. Their workers cruise through towns in flatbed trucks called “poopmobiles” (for real) dumping soiled toilet drums and replacing them with new ones. The waste is then transported, via poopmobile, to composting sites where the workers mix the waste with materials which aide in the composting cycle.
SOIL is working on a new “composting toilet” that will soon be included in the Haitian household. The organization’s creative spark has set up a new ecological goal. While decreasing the mixture of drinking water and fecal matter, these toilets also give high hopes to upcoming farmland.