To use or not to use Human wastes as Fertilizers??

Posted by Maria Nakirya, Coordinator CELAC Project

Use of human waste as a fertilizer is quickly being adopted by many farmers worldwide, some of the farmers in Uganda inclusive. This is because apart from being readily available it is also cost effective. The cost of one kilo of chemical fertilizers costs ½ a Euro. This is not affordable to the local rural farmer. One banana stump needs about 3kgs of fertilizer between planting to maturity.

To derive fertilizers from human waste, collect the waste in a container, preferably plastic. Make sure that the urine is separated from the stool. Presence of liquid will attract houseflies which will lay eggs that grow into maggots subsequently leading to rotting with a bad smell.

Ash is added to the stool in the plastic container to the ratio of 1:1, well sealed and left to dry for 3-6 months. By this time, it has all turned into dust. The dust is then sprinkled by the farmer on to the soil, which in turn feeds the plant.

The fact that in the grassroot communities, use of toilets or latrines is scarce, with the alternative to use bushes, fields or gardens to ease themselves, perhaps this may be a break through for them. Also, because of the fact that agriculture is the major activity in the rural community, then perhaps this would be a solution to the rampant cholera and dysentery that results from improper waste disposal. Proper human waste disposal is less harmful to the environment.

Interesting, when I used Google to look for alternative ways human waste can be used, I found information that indicated that it is a globally adopted method. In Los Angels for instance, farmers have heated the bio solids separated it from wastewater, and then shipped to farms for soil enhancement. It is sent to landfills (buried in holes) and the solution is later heated at a high temperature, and then sent through a specialized plug to ensure none slips by without proper treatment. It is then given to farmers as a super fertilizer, free of pathogens found in some animal manure and safe for use. George Dudley, President of the Muscogee County Farm Bureau says this product is odorless. Also, Dr Mike Bell a Researcher from the Queensland’s Department of Primary Industries’ says that recycled human stool used on crops is neither harmful for the environment nor for human health.

“We’re giving nutrients back to the land that we took out of it,” said Lauri Walters, Environmental Program Coordinator for the Western Lake Superior Sanitary District. Using human waste as fertilizer is nothing new. Asian cultures have done it for centuries. In Milwaukee, sludge has been treated, dried, bagged and sold to Midwest gardeners for more than 60 years.

Human stool is said to contain nitrogen and phosphorus which are good for plants.











One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Zziwa Medi on February 8, 2016 at 6:25 pm



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