Disposable toilet could clean up slums

Posted by Emma Woollacott

A Swedish professor has invented a disposable toilet that turns human waste into fertiliser.

The Peepoo, developed by Anders Wilhelmson, consists of a biodegradeable bag that sits upright in a bucket and is knotted and buried when it's finished with. It's said to be odor-free for 12 to 24 hours after use.

The bag contains urea crystals to break the waste down into an ammonia-based fertiliser and kill off pathogens. It inactivates them within two to four weeks, says Wilhelmson, compared to two or three years for poo that's just left to rot.

According to United Nation figures, 2.6 billion people in the developing world don't have access to a toilet - one of the reasons that 1.5 million children die each year from diarrhoea.

"The Peepoo is the ideal system, the ideal product for the biggest problem facing the world," said Professor Eric O Odada, a member of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation.

Wilhelmson has tested the Peepoo out in the Narobi slums, where there is one toilet for every 500 inhabitants, and found that 87 percent of people felt it was batter than their normal sanitation.

"It is nice having them because sometimes when you go to the latrine they have overflowed and you feel uncomfortable," said one user.

Wilhelmson plans to mass-produce the Peepoo this summer; it'll cost two or three cents.