Toilet to Table

#82 Shit

SOIL works to sanitize and re-fertilize Haiti's topsoil one toilet at a time.

Shada Slum, Cap Haitian, Haiti – Along the banks of the Cap Haitian River, like the rest of the county, there is no government run sanitation here. There is nowhere to put your garbage; no one to pick up the garbage, there is nowhere to go to the bathroom, no sewer system to pump waste, and no treatment plant to clean the waste. Haiti is in a sanitation crisis. Locals pay the price with illness and disease. Most communities live amongst piles of garbage and rivers/waterways are clogged with garbage and human waste. Since 2004 Ecologist Sasha Kramer and SOIL (Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods) have been working with local communities to clean up the mess. Composting toilets tackle the most basic of Haiti's problems by protecting soil resources and empowering communities living in absolute poverty. They believe, “the path to sustainability is through the transformation of both disempowered people and discarded materials, turning apathy into empowerment and pollution into valuable resources”. SOIL has built the first-ever public toilets in Shada – formerly people would relieve themselves in the garbage dump alongside the river. Unlike traditional toilets, these are composting units, helping to safely create new organic fertilizer to nourish the depleted soil in the community. Other SOIL projects include a program to transform garbage into beautiful or useful things, and the creation of a community center.