Human Manure Low-Cost Solution to Haiti's Sanitation Problem

Haiti continues to struggle nearly five years after the 2010 earthquake. Large segments of the population remain homeless, roads are un-navigable, and food shortages and lack of clean drinking water persist. But the most urgent challenge Haiti faces is improper human defecation, leading to the spread of cholera.

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The water-borne pathogen is transmitted through contact with contaminated feces. The government has endeavored to make communities aware of how they can become infected with it, but residents in areas such as Cap-Haitien and Port-au-Prince continue to use plastic bags to defecate in. The use of these crude devices causes transmission of cholera within each household and then out into the community.

A statistic cited by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies states ". . . in Haiti only 29% of the population has access to any sanitation resources." Sasha Kramer of Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihood has developed a solution to address Haiti's sanitation problem. Kramer collects human waste from toilets and mixes it with sugarcane pulp, storing and converting it into compost.

Kramer's fertilizer has been tested on spinach and banana crops and proven to produce 20% higher yields. Kramer's solution is a low-cost and effective method, and a one-time capital investment in a fleet of flatbed trucks to haul the waste could effect a sea change in the sanitation situation.

A low-cost fertilizer leading to an improvement in Haiti's sanitation system could contribute to the elimination of cholera.

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