Why Ecological Sanitation?

January 8, 2011
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Ecological Sanitation, or ecosan, offers a new philosophy of dealing with what is currently seen as waste and wastewater. It is based on the systematic implementation of reuse and recycling of nutrients and water as a hygienically safe, closed-loop and holistic alternative to conventional sanitation solutions. Ecosan systems enable the recovery of nutrients from human feces and urine for the benefit of agriculture, thus helping to preserve soil fertility, assure food security for future generations, minimize water pollution and recover bioenergy.

Ecological sanitation involves the interplay of various concepts:  the nutrient cycle, the water cycle, integrated water resources management, sustainable sanitation, and the linking of all of them for food security.

Learn More:   

Sustainable Sanitation Alliance Incorporating the work of more than 200 partners, the extensive SuSanA website has case studies, videos and photos, announcements, and working groups where practitioners are invited to get involved.  The SuSanA Newsletter carries news and reviews of the latest works, most of which are free downloads.  The SuSanA Forum is a searchable platform for exchanges among individual practitioners.  

Sustainable Sanitation and Water Management The SSWM Toolbox offers tangible tools and resources to solve sanitation and water management challenges.

Akvopediamaintains a WASH Portal with well-organized, open source technical and how-to documents.

Eawag Department Sanitation, Water and Solid Waste for Development  The Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag) has an extensive searchable database.

My WEDC offers data base of resources, technical plans, infographics, online courses and information about conferences.

The Water Institute at the University of North Carolina has information and conferences on global water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).

Compendium of Sanitation Systems and Technologies  Elizabeth Tilley et al. of EAWAG present tried and tested technologies in a way that helps communities make informed decisions.  Part 1 describes different system configurations for a variety of contexts. Illustrated  Technology Information Sheets in Part 2 cover advantages, disadvantages, applications and the appropriateness of the technologies required for closed loop sanitation systems.  The Coursera MOOC “Planning & Design of Sanitation Systems and Technologies” uses this manual.

A Collection of Contemporary Toilet Designs Research  supported by Sandec and Eawag covers a wide range of contemporary designs and links to additional information. This volume from The Water Engineering and Development Centre (WEDC) at Loughborough University is an overview of current research and development is useful for fieldworkers and practitioners as well as engineers and researchers. It does not include conventional toilet designs.

EcoSanRes This project of the Stockholm Environment Institute offers online ecosan publications, factsheets, and ecosan resources focussed on the developing world.

Sustainable Sanitation for the 21st Century Each of the 25 modules of this free 5 or 6 week course  is clearly laid out like this and combines illustrated explanatory source materials and links to further reading with a slide presentation.

Our Mission Through education and advocacy, PHLUSH helps local governments and citizen groups to provide equitable public restroom availability and to prepare for a pipe-breaking seismic event with appropriate ecological toilet systems.

Our Vision Toilet availability is a human right and well-designed sanitation systems restore health to our cities, our waters and our soils.

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Public Hygiene Lets Us Stay Human (PHLUSH) was founded in Portland, Oregon and today collaborates with groups across North America.

PHLUSH is a member of the World Toilet Organization and a partner in the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance.

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