An international conference on Ecological Safety, held [in November 2008] in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, called attention to a dangerous sanitation issue by offering an inspiring and feasible solution.
The problem: international donors are still promoting pit latrines, says Dr. Claudia Wendland of Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF), but most families can’t afford to pay for safe emptying of the pits. In humid climates like those found in Central Asia, Caucasus and Eastern Europe, the latrines can become dangerous as a result, [and] often [pollute] groundwater.
[…] According to Sascha Gabizon, executive director of WCEF, dry or low-flush urine diverting toilets, combined with natural filtration ponds to purify grey water from sinks and showers, is a much safer sanitation system that can be implemented at a cost similar to that of the latrines.
The 200 participants of the conference were invited to visit 3 demonstration projects showing how wastewater from kitchens and bathrooms was efficiently cleaned using a “soil filter,” a sealed pond in which sand and plants clean the wastewater to achieve the quality of bathing water, The participants also visited 2 different types of dry urine diverting toilets. The cost of the toilets vary between 200 and 450 Euro, including a wash facility and light, this is much cheaper than having to build a flush-toilet and connecting to a sewage system […]. The cost of the soil filter for 5 people amounts to about 950 euro, also less expensive than connecting to a sewage system.
Gabizon says the WCEF strategy is to first demonstrate the new sustainable sanitation systems “in a variety of small and large scale applications, from households to schools to entire villages.”
See also the WECF project profile of “Kyrgyzstan – Decentralised and sustainable wastewater management”
Source: Julia Levitt, Worldchanging, 21 Nov 2008