Musiri Selection Grade Town Panchayat

முசிறி தேர்வு நிலை பேரூராட்சி

Scope for converting human waste into useful crop manure

Posted by musiri on December 4, 2008

ECOLOGICAL SANITATION: The urine collection and dilution tank, in the forefront and paddy harvest at Musiri in Tamil Nadu.

ECOLOGICAL SANITATION: The urine collection and dilution tank, in the forefront and paddy harvest at Musiri in Tamil Nadu.

Human waste may invariably evoke strong and repulsive reactions.
“But scientific studies in different parts of the world have proved that human excreta particularly urine will become as precious as gold if only mankind knows how to manage it scientifically,” says Mr. M. Subburaman , Director, Society fo r Community Organization and People’s Education (SCOPE) at Tiruchi, Tamil Nadu.
Every individual produces on an average 450 to 500 litres of urine and 60 kgs of faeces per annum.
Human urine is by far the largest contributor of wastewater. About 80 per cent of nitrogen and 50 per cent of phosphorus derived from urine accounts for just one percent of the volume of wastewater.
Good results
According to Mr. M. Subburaman, research all over the world has revealed that urine when used as a fertilizer has yielded excellent results in crop yield.
However these studies have been done only in European countries where the climate and soil conditions are different from our country.
The Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore (TNAU) has taken up studies on the impact of urine on paddy crops and also on urine storage under tropical conditions.
The University signed an MOU with SCOPE for a research project (for two years) and at a cost of Rs.4.2 lakhs to conduct trials on paddy crops at Musiri village in Tamil Nadu by using urine as a liquid spray. (the outcome of the research will be officially announced by the University soon.)
“Fertilizers such as urea, phosphate and potash were applied to crops grown in experimental plots and diluted urine was applied three to four times as a spray. The spray was stopped one month before harvest,” Mr. Subburaman says.
SCOPE has specialized in ecological sanitation which aims at ensuring safe and sustainable management of human excreta, which at the moment contaminate the environment.
Organic manure
“If at least 35 per cent of the people in our country having toilets switch over to ecosan toilets, it will enable the country to produce over 65 million tonnes of fertilizer (N,P,K) which is environmentally friendly form of organic manure.
This can save our government from spending nearly Rs.800 crore every year in its budget for buying fertilizers,” explained Mr. V.Ganapathy, Liaison Officer. But sourcing the urine was a big problem initially, because sizable quantities of human urine were not available for our research.
Open defecation
“Due to open defecation by over 65 per cent of the population and inability to collect urine from those who were using pit latrines, septic tanks and sewage systems made it impossible for us to collect urine for research.,” explains Mr. Subburaman.
In what way has this ecosan toilet helped?
By constructing ecosan toilets, urine collection has become easier. There is a separate provision in the ecosan toilet for collecting the urine and faeces separately and this type of toilet is more environment friendly as the need for water usage has drastically come down.
Collected separately
The urine, faeces and washwater are collected separately and the urine is used for agriculture.
The faeces gets composted in the ecosan chamber and is free from E-Coli and salmonella, when it gets dehydrated in a period of about 8 months.
The washwater may contain some particles of faeces and the same from the ecosan toilet is collected in a filter bed and allowed to ooze out into the ground for promoting plant growth.

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