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Fiji Time: 6:16 AM on Saturday 26 July

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Compost toilets the in thing

Saturday, July 11, 2009

COMPOSTING toilets have become the in thing for some coastal villages on Vanua Levu, who are keen on protecting their environment.

Villagers on Mali Island have constructed these toilets after finding out that waste from their pit toilets was seeping into the sea, affecting coral reefs.

Peace Corps Volunteer Eric Bickel, who works with the Macuata Provincial Office, assisted villagers in accepting the new lavatory system that ensures that waste material is converted into fertiliser.

"With other toilet system for villages near the sea a lot of the waste that people produce is going directly into the ocean or the streams -- so people can't drink water from streams, it is unsafe to swim in," he said.

"And when it goes out to sea it gives rise to algae and if in a high enough quantity they can negatively affect coral reefs."

Mr Bickel said the system doesn't need water to properly function.

"This is suitable for these villages that already face water shortages," he said.

"It's been a worldwide Peace Corps initiative to introduce composting toilets because they are environment friendly."

Composting toilets are built on a raised platform and designed in such a way that liquid waste is separated from solids.

"Liquid waste filters through coconut husks and is released into a garden catchment site area and plants can be grown there while solids are put into a chamber with sawdust and dry leaves and sealed off for several months," he said.

"Once the solid has been composted they are placed in gardens as fertiliser."

Several such toilets have been constructed at Nakaw aga Village on Mali Island and moves are afoot to have the concept implement in all villages near the sea.


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