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Friday, November 12, 2010

South African city pays for urine

Remember the news about a Chinese city paying its residents for each cigarette butt they collect in an effort to promote environmental hygiene?
Another city on the other side of the globe is launching a similar way to encourage people to observe environmental cleanliness.
In Durban, South Africa, a project was initiated that offers its people to buy their urine to encourage them to use dry toilets.
In an effort to improve sanitation and save money, the port city of Durban has put up around 90,000 water-free toilets.
City environmentalists want to install 20-liter containers on 500 of the toilets that can catch nitrates, phosphorus and potassium from the human water waste and turn them into fertilizer.
The containers will be collected once a week and families will be paid approximately 30 rands (US$4.3, €3.2), which is not small where many people live on less than 14 rands (US$2, €1.5) per day.
While there is reluctance and open opposition among the people in the use of this innovative approach due to cultural practices and beliefs, proponents believe that this is the right method as a way to improve social hygienic practices that led to the cholera outbreak in 2002.
The Swiss lab Eawag and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are supporting this project.
Click here for more details.

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