ECOSAN (Ecological Sanitation)

An ECOSAN topic is still a new concept for Nepal though farmers of the Kathmandu Valley have been practicing the use of night soil in agricultural fields for decades. Night soil in combination with animal waste, kitchen and other agricultural waste used as the main fertilizers in the agricultural fields. Due to lack of knowledge of the nutritional value of urine, farmers mix it with faeces and applied it fresh in the fields. However, human faeces are home to numerous disease-causing organisms, if it is not properly handles. With the introduction of sewer line system where faeces are flushed away through drainpipes, this valuable resource of human manure is unavailable to farmers as in the past. In addition to this, with the introduction of chemical fertilizers in the market, farmers gradually shifted from the traditional use of human excreta to the use of such fertilizers.

ENPHO at present is reviving the traditional yet forgotten art of applying night soil to the agricultural fields in scientific and hygienic way through ECOSAN toilet. It is an ecosystem approach for the excreta disposal. Designed to divert urine from mixing with faeces, this system serves the hygienic sanitation and aids low-income farmers to apply urine substitute to chemical fertilizer, and composted faeces for agriculture. Equally, this system is very sound in areas having high water table where low cost pit latrines is unfeasible to be constructed.

ENPHO has organized a talk programs to sensitize the issue on ECOSAN within major stakeholders working in water and sanitation sector in 2001. Organization involved has initiated pilot programmes on ECOSAN around periurban areas of the Kathmandu Valley. Till date, thirty-six units have already been constructed in various parts of the Valley and more are in the design phase. ENPHO is constructing 10 ECOSAN units at Khokana Village Development Committee. With a population of about 4,728 Khokana is a traditional Newar farming community, located in southern part of the valley at an elevation of around 1300m above sea level. Majorities of the population in the village are farmers by occupation and are economically as well as socially backward. ENPHO is getting financial support from WATER AID Nepal to implement ECOSAN project in Nepal.

  • Implementation of Ecological Sanitation (ECOSAN) Toilet in Khokana VDC, Lalitpur, November 2003

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