Solving Haiti’s Waste Management Problem

Today, only 16% of rural Haitians have access to adequate sanitation facilities. The cities aren't much better, with half of Haiti's urban population left without a working sewer system. Waste is often dumped by residents in local waterways and abandoned buildings. When collected, trucks carrying loads of waste usually offload into Haiti’s sole dump in Port-au-Prince or rivers throughout the country. With a population of about 9.7 million, waste removal in Haiti has become a sanitation and, thus, environmental crisis.

One of Earth Day Network’s newest Earth Day 2011 partners,SOIL (Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods), has created a sustainable solution. SOIL’s Public Dry Toilet Programprovides Haitians with affordable Ecological Sanitation (EcoSan) toilets to compost waste and turn it into fertilizer. Since building Haiti’s first EcoSan toilet in 2006, SOIL has gone on to become a national leader in developing sustainable sanitation solutions, transforming over 5,000 gallons of human waste per week into valuable fertilizer for rural farms and urban gardens! As icky as it may sound, this practice addresses many pressing environmental health issues in Haiti, reducing diseases like cholera and parasites, protecting water sources, and increasing agricultural productivity.  

In celebration of Earth Day 2011, SOIL and Earth Day Network invite everyone to come out and visit a new composting site in Pernier Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The event will include demonstrations on how composting can fight cholera and water-borne disease, while generating rich organic compost for agriculture and reforestation efforts. SOIL staff will be on hand to answer ecological sanitation questions and to demonstrate urine fertilization in the site’s community garden.  Each person participating in the demonstration will be counted towards A Billion Acts of Green® for the awareness raised about the need for improved sanitation in Haiti and around the world. Can’t be in Haiti to check out the toilets? Organize your own Earth Day event. Check out our website for ideas and resources!