Dry Toliets Solution to Waste Problem in Haiti

Haiti has a human waste problem. In many rural households people go into open fields to relieve themselves and deposit solid waste. In some areas individuals resort to using plastic bags to contain feces, which they toss into water channels. This creates a condition in which waterborne pathogens become diseases like cholera.


An underdeveloped nation, Haiti lacks an adequate sanitation system, which flush toilets require. To address the problem of the dangerous practice of filling plastic bags with human elimination, and then contaminating the water system with it, two Stanford University graduate students have discovered a solution. Kory Russel and Sebastien Tilmans have created dry toilets to process liquid and solid waste, depositing them separately into airtight containers. To remove odors and ward off insect infestations they designed covers composed of ground peanut shells and sugarcane strands, which work as a barrier. Once containerized, the waste is picked up by a service, transporting it to a processing plant for conversion to compost and sold to farmers.

The first phase of the project was implemented in a Haitian slum in 130 homes. Since then the number has increased to another 300 homes, and there are plans to implement the service in Port-au-Prince. In time customers will be expected to pay five dollars per month for the removal service.

Stanford is operating this program to target Haiti's water challenges that include safe drinking water and its environmental impact through lack of a functioning sanitation system.

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