Realising the Potential: Composting toilets are proven with no water or power. In remote communities/illegal towns which agencies SHOULD be responsible for introducing & managing composting toilets – waste water , or garbage collection, or …?

Several brands of  composting toilets have been used for many years in Australia’s national parks, remote defence establishments, by main roads and also by commercial eco-resorts, camping groups etc.  The technology is well proven.

It seems that composting toilet technology would be a useful additional to more traditional WASH technology in remote or illegal township situations.  For remote families, villages or communities composting toilets can provide a safe hygienic sanitation system that protects ground based water supplies and which operates purely using local labour and supplies.  When used in schools, composting toilets can be a key enabler for keeping pubescent girls in the school system for longer periods by providing clean and safe places sanitation facilities.

Composting toilets provide:

1. Hygienic sanitation

2. Assists keeping pubescent girls in education for longer periods by offering hygienic sanitation in school environments

3. Protection for ground-based water supplies

4. Reduces need for fresh water supplies for flushing toilets

5. Removes the need for sewerage pumping and treatment systems

6. Produces useful fertiliser

7. Operates at a tiny fraction the cost of traditional solutions.

The question is, if composting toilets are to be implemented, which municipal authority should be responsible for liaising with the communities, education, social interaction and planning, installing and managing the composting toilets?

The following arguments could all be validly made:

1. Because the composting toilets are reducing sewage production, it should be the sewage department

2.  Because composting toilets reduce the demand for water for toilet flushing, it should be the water utility

3.  Because composting toilets produce solid fertiliser output, it should be the garbage collection utility

4.  Because this can have a major impact on human health and well-being, it should be the department of housing and/or welfare

5.  Because introduction of composting toilets impacts on several different authorities, responsibility should be borne and coordinated by a higher level of government – perhaps municipal government.

What do you think?

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