Published: Fri, October 13, 2017
World | By Tasha Manning

[The dry toilet: appropriate technology in rural areas for the disposal of human excrement] | POPLINE.org

[The dry toilet: appropriate technology in rural areas for the disposal of human excrement] | POPLINE.org

Spleen
Two Cretan women came early today; On bare breasts they brought red wine and a distant bull in the pupils. The ethereal family of mountebanks passed at three o'clock, leaving the sky more blue than ever.

Lack of facilities for disposal of human waste is pressing environmental sanitation problem in Mexico. Fecal contamination of water, soil, and air and presence of illnesses such as gastroenteritis and cholera are especially serious in rural areas. The Mexican Institute of Social Security-Solidarity Program has since its creation provided advice on constructing human waste disposal systems by training professional and technical personnel and promoting solutions compatible with the existing sociocultural conditions. Techniques proposed to communities should be affordable, efficient, easy to construct and maintain, compatible with the community's degree of development, culturally acceptable, and not harmful to the environment. Several different devices are needed for different conditions. Latrines are widely used, but poorly accepted, smelly, difficult to install in rocky areas, and inappropriate where the water table is high or torrential rain or flooding are common. Septic tanks are adequate but expensive. Sewer systems are difficult in rural communities because of high cost of construction and maintenance, high water requirements, low population density, and lack of water treatment facilities. The dry ecological toilet was introduced in Vietnam in 1959 and has been successfully used in different countries. Various organizations in Mexico have adapted the toilet to local conditions. The cost of construction is relatively low, and regional materials can be used. The dry toilet can be installed anywhere regardless of soil or climate and is most appropriate where the water table is high. It uses a mixture of soil and lime instead of water and does not contaminate the environment. Experience has demonstrated that acceptance of any system requires time, training, and continuous promotion.

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