Toilets That Make Gardens From Humanure: An Eco-Friendly Future Can Come From Your Toilet

Image Credits : www.givelove.org

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With environmental consciousness gradually permeating the human society, efforts to conserve water and greenery are gaining the much-needed momentum. Unknown to many, the curse of the water crisis is looming over villages, cities, countries and continents, posing a serious subsistence risk. No matter how much we curtail water usage in our daily lives to combat the situation, most of us still continue to ignore the truth that our day starts with inevitably wasting no less than 6-7 litres of water, with every flush of the toilet.

Irrespective of the fact that very few opt for the smaller flush button on the toilet which ensures effective cleaning with much less water wastage, hardly anyone knows that the simple bodily function of defecation can be turned into a highly productive eco-friendly investment.

Why is that needed, one might ask, given the prevailing taboo and disgust about anything remotely related to the bowel.

A single flush creates an alarming level of pollution

Let us state the big picture here. Where does this water end up every time we flush our toilets? Truth is, the contaminated water is treated with persistent chemicals in sewage treatment plants and eventually released into lakes, rivers and oceans, where it ends up threatening the aquatic lives and polluting the groundwater, surface water and freshwater. In developing countries, the scenario is even worse as often the toilet water finds its way into water bodies, completely untreated. Hence, a simple flush can amplify to an exponential level of pollution.

Yes, there is a solution – Humanure

Remember how scientist Mark Watney grew potatoes in the sterile soil of Mars in the movie The Martian, making use of his own excreta? In reality, the science fiction movie might have shown the most credible solution, as proved by Joseph Jenkins from Pennsylvania, USA, better recognised as the author of The Humanure Handbook.

Humanure handbook

Humanure, as the name suggests, is the green manure obtained from human faeces, after a proper method of composting which kills all the harmful pathogens. Humanure can be extremely nutritious for the plants and ensures zero water wastage and contamination through toilets. In fact, the idea behind compost toilets in each home, as propagated by Jenkins, insists that every house should be self-sustainable with the toilet discard being recycled into all-natural fertiliser.

Jenkins and The Humanure Handbook

The Humanure Handbook, published in July 1996, explains the A to Z of compost toilets, an idea which met with a lot of resistance at the outset. However, it did not take long for environmentalists all around the world to realise its importance. Soon, Jenkins’ book sold thousands of copies, turning him into a full-time consultant. He has travelled to many Asian, African and European countries offering guidance about compost toilets, which he and his family commercially labelled as “Loveable Loos”.

From toilet to lush gardens

A box-shaped wooden toilet where, instead of a cistern for flushing, one will find a bucket beneath. After each usage, sawdust is added as a biofilter to the excrement collected in the bucket, to initiate the decomposition process. On a regular basis (mostly once a week), the toilet material from the bucket is dumped into a compost pile and later other organic materials like household garbage (biodegradable), garden waste etc are mixed with it.

Humanure toilet demo in Kolkata, India. Image Credits : www.givelove.org

Over a considerable period of time, it turns into superior quality “Humanure”, following other steps of treatment as detailed in the book. This can then nurture lush gardens of flowers, fruits and vegetables. In fact, the chemical-free vegetables and grains farmed with Humanure can be easily turned into palatable dishes, thereby bringing the process to a full circle.

Making of Humanure toilet

Jenkins has designed a foolproof mechanism for processing Humanure which negates all concerns about an obnoxious odour or bacterial diseases.

Humanure is not limited to its pioneer Joseph Jenkins, rather it has launched a worldwide initiative towards eco-friendly toilets, as adopted through different programmes by governments across the world, as well as individual households.

Also Read: To Stop Open Defecation, This American Lady Crowdfunded Rs. 4.8 Lakh From 432 Donors & Built Eco-Friendly Toilets

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2,00,000 meals served
Emergency funds sent to 350 families, 75000+ meals served, 150+ ration kits and sanitary pads distributed
It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote

Goonj Is Working With 1000’s Of Volunteers & Partner NGOs To Provide Covid-19 Relief In 18 States

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With the extension of the lockdown the crisis of migrant labourers and daily wagers has just grown bigger due to uncertainty and fear of future. In the migrant colonies, slums and for people in the villages hunger and desperation is building up day by day. This is high time we step up our efforts to support our people who are in dire need of food and hygiene essentials to survive the pandemic, Covid-19.

After the India-wide lockdown, a lot of jobless migrant workers are stuck in cities with hardly any resources while many started retreating back to their villages. With the loss of livelihoods, a large number of them are now struggling to support their families.

Goonj activated its pan India teams and a pan India network of partner organizations and volunteers in urban and rural India. This network, built over the last two decades, helps them learn from the ground, reach material quickly and review and adapt strategy periodically. Intensifying this network has helped Goonj reach and start work across 17produced states/UT in the last three weeks.
Support the cause you care for. Browse All CampaignsBrowse all campaigns
2,00,000 meals served
Emergency funds sent to 350 families, 75000+ meals served, 150+ ration kits and sanitary pads distributed

Goonj’s focus: 

Majority of the Covid-19 relief work by non profits right now is in the metros and cities but Goonj is the only non profit that is also simultaneously focusing on the people in the villages and the ones stuck on highways or somewhere.

Goonj is targeting daily wagers, migrants and other vulnerable groups, who even traditionally are left out like the disabled, sex workers, LGBTQ community.

“COVID-19 is a crisis, yes…But, it’s also an opportunity for us to build the society anew. Not ‘for’ the people…but, ‘with’ the people. And in the process, we will build ourselves too.” – Anshu Gupta, Founder-Director, Goonj.

Direct Monetary and Material Transfer

Wherever Goonj got the permission to open their centres for packing and disbursement of relief material kits, they are creating a kit consisting of 20-30 kgs material including dry rations, masks, sanitary pads and other hygiene material and reaching them to people, as per needs and as per regulations with all safety precautions. This kit will help a family survive for 30 days.

Information till 10th April 2020:

  • Distributed 15,100 ration kits reaching thousands of people
  • Reached 17,700 families
  • Supporting 12 community kitchen across India with 16,600kgs of ration
  • 77,800 food packets provided to migrant laborers and daily wagers walking on the roads across the country.
  • Provided direct financial support to 32 organisations
  • Made 42,800 cloth face masks
  • 24,900 cloth sanitary napkins produced
  • Produced 1500 litres of organic sanitiser

In Goonj’s processing centers its trained team of women are making cloth face masks and cloth sanitary pads (MY-Pads), keeping all the precautions and with the permission and cooperation of the local authorities.

In this lock-down phase if you are facing any difficulty getting sanitary pads or you are running out of stock, here’s a detailed but very simple process of making Cloth Pads at home created by Goonj. “This is how we make Goonj MY Pads.” This is how our mothers and grandmothers turned their spare cloth into pads.

This disaster, unlike any other, is unprecedented in its scale and impact and that’s why we all must do our bit with Goonj to continue its relief work for millions of people in this still unfolding long-tailed disaster.

The need is huge.. We are there.. Need You too !!

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It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote
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