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Ecosan toilets bring multiple benefits Print E-mail
Posted by Administrator   
Monday, 04 August 2008

ImageBy: Dev Kumar Sunuwar

Kathmandu: Until a few years ago, Saraswati Maharjan-33, a resident of Siddhipur-8 on the outskirts of Kathmandu, had to walk 10 minutes from her home to attend nature's call in the open communal defecation area. But that's happily a history now. The lives of villagers in Siddhipur-8 has radically changed after the introduction of Ecosan toilets (Ecological sanitation, a dry system toilet).

Building of Ecosan toilets in the village began, after the residents of Siddhipur, who suffered from water borne diseases every summer, knocked on the doors of many organi-zations including at the Department of Water Supply and Sewerage (DWSS). The DWSS, finally, initiated a pilot project in Siddhipur in collaboration with World Health Organization (WHO) in the year 2002.
"Not only the life of villagers but also the life of nearby rivers have changed," said Kamal Adhikari, a sociologist and Ecosan project coordinator at DWSS. Previously, the villagers of Siddhipur had four Khichamuga (Open areas designated as communal toilets for women) and its link was connected to the nearby stream that ultimately assimilates to Manohara and Bagmati River.
Following the pilot project of government, many I/NGOs namely, UN-HABITAT, Environment and Public Health Organization (ENPHO) stepped in to extend support for further expansion of the toilets. The result: More than 100 households now own Ecosan toilets and many others own the Safety-tank toilets. "The water borne diseases are now almost nil in the village," said Krishna Maharjan, the chairperson of Siddhipur Integrated Water and Sanitation Users Organization.
According to an estimate of DWSS, over 1000 Ecosan toilets have been built throughout Nepal and most of them are located in Kathmandu Valley. Similarly, the demand for Ecosan is increasing in Thimi, Khokana, Tokha, Hetauda, Chitawan and elsewhere. Likewise, a number of I/NGOs namely, United Nations for Children's Fund (UNICEF), Lumanti Support Group for Shelter and Center for Integrated Urban Development (CIUD) are joining hands to meet the growing demand.
Ecosan toilets have been beneficial in the context of Nepal, mainly because of its unique system of converting the human waste into fertilizer and Bio-gas at reasonable costs - around Rs. 15,000. Thus the craze as well as demand have been increasing here, according to Bhusan Tuladhar, an executive director of ENPHO. "To some extent, Ecosan toilets could help in flowing clean water in the streams which are flowing through the periphery of urban areas and ultimately being assimilated into Bagmati and Bishnumati," said Tuladhar adding "If there is further subsidy for the poor, which ultimately would not only help to bring about an improved lifestyle to them but also in bringing about clean environment and better health."

Source: The Kathmandu Post, August 3, 2008

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