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Dry toilet confab kicks off in Finland

How could sanitation services be provided for residents of coastal communities where the high water table impedes construction of pit latrines?

In the same vein, how do we provide safe toilet facilities to residents of rocky or mountainous areas where excavation of top or sub soil (rock) is difficult or almost impossible?

These and similar posers are being discussed at the 4th International Dry Toilet Conference http://drytoilet.org/dt2012/  which commenced in Tampere, Finland, today.

The two day conference has as its main theme “Drivers for ecological dry toilets in urban and rural areas”; and issues being discussed include theCultural, gender and social aspects of dry toilets’, ‘Technological options and urban applications’, ‘Economy, profitability and marketing of dry toilet’, ‘Sustainability and promoting of dry toilets’, ‘Operation and maintenance of dry toilets’, and ‘Sanitation in extreme conditions’.

Delegates to the meeting are expected to discuss global experiences in the use of dry toilets and how it could be upscale and sustained

 “Water closet does not have to be the only option and a status symbol’, said the Mia O Neill, Chair of the Global Dry Toilet Association of Finland, organisers of the conference. There are around 2.5 billion people in the world without any safe toilet; in slum areas it is a very common habit to poop into plastic bags which are then thrown as far as possible; climate change is causing droughts and floods and it will alter the height of groundwater; and how we to deal with sanitation issues during a water shortage? , said Mia.

Speaking at the opening ceremony in the University of Tampere, this morning, keynote speaker, Guy Mbayo, Chief, Water Sanitation and Hygiene, UNICEF Rwanda country office, said:’ecological sanitation is a viable option for sub Saharan Africa in its quest to achieve the sanitation targets for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)’.

There is still open defecation in most parts of the world with almost 2.5 billion without access to safe sanitation’, said Mbayo; Adding ‘but with this simple technology called ecological sanitation, you can reach out to these people who presently lack access’.

He however, admitted that further studies need to be conducted to overcome the cultural, gender, and social barriers that may impede use of ECOSAN latrines by men, women, children and adults.

Wikipedia defines a dry toilet as ‘composting toilet  that treats excreta, typically with no water or small volumes of flush water, via composting or managed aerobic decomposition’.

In contrast to water closet (flush) toilet, a dry toilet does  not need water, and human waster are is typically collected directly beneath the seat in a either is a pit, container, or chamber.

 

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