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News > Latin America

Organization Improves Sanitation in Haiti With Compost Toilets

  • A girl crosses a puddle of water after heavy rains at a makeshift tent camp in Cite Soleil in Port-au-Prince in this file photo taken on February 26, 2010.

    A girl crosses a puddle of water after heavy rains at a makeshift tent camp in Cite Soleil in Port-au-Prince in this file photo taken on February 26, 2010. | Photo: Reuters

Published 1 July 2017

The toilets will convert human waste into rich and organic compost.

A non-profit organization is helping Haiti with sanitation and waste treatment, as the country has endured massive earthquakes and hurricanes while facing ineffective governance.

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In his recent visit to Haiti, Ambassador Sacha Sergio Llorentty Soliz of Bolivia urged Haiti's government to take on a more active role in the country's development.

"Peace and security are intrinsically linked to the basic needs of the population. If the basic needs such as health, education, water and sanitation services are not met, the work to install stability and development could be difficult if not impossible to achieve," Llorenty said. 

But following the devastating 2010 earthquake and two years of political turmoil, the poorest country in the Americas still lacks development on access to drinking water, sanitation and transport infrastructure. 

“The priority within the government in terms of water and sanitation, it's right now a low priority. So they're not able to make the kind of the kind of investments that would be really helpful and have a huge impact,” Nick Preneta, Deputy Director for the Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods, or SOIL, told KGOU’s World Views.

“We look specifically at urban areas where we do everything from produce the toilet and market and sell it to servicing and treatment,” Preneta said.

SOIL provides a household toilet service called EkoLakay. Customers rent a locally-made eco-friendly composting toilet in their home for approximately US$3-5 per month. The organization would collect the full buckets and transport the waste to its compost sites, where the waste is transformed into nutrient-rich compost.

“We have a member of our team that comes by each house to collect the filled containers, which are sealed, and then gives them a clean one with that cover material,’” Preneta said. According to SOIL, cover material is called “bonzodè," which is Haitian Creole. 

SOIL’s service is uniquely adapted to places where latrines and septic tanks are not viable, Prenata said.

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Over 75 percent of Haiti’s population lacks access to safe sanitation, and despite the significant challenges, authorities are looking to support the initiatives that are meant to address these needs.

In an email to teleSUR, a SOIL spokesperson emphasized that the organization "is working in direct collaboration with the Haitian government and our work is meant to complement the work that they are doing with the limited resources and various challenges that they face."

Besides SOIL, some other groups are doing the similar work in countries like Kenya, Ghana and Peru. Prenata said they are all working together to promote what they called “container-based sanitation.”

“Our push is to promote this at an international level and gain acceptance of these models as a good solution to this growing urban sanitation crisis,” Prenata said. “That's not going away anytime soon.”

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