At some point in our lives, many of us have been camping and may have “experimented” or tried out
various sanitation techniques or toilet systems, such as the earth and chemical toilet. It is these methods and practices
that we will discuss in order to ascertain which is the most effective in the terrain where you live, and the type of disaster
As we have seen from recent major disasters, the New Orleans La and Mississippi Hurricane, when the crunch come
you are on your own. Learn how to deal with these environmental health issues before it is too late.
Not far from where I live in South Wales, UK, is located the Centre for Alternate Technology, (CAT) where for
many years this group have been putting into practice and living in the environment they created, the many ideas and methods
of alternate living.
This is their mission Statement:
Showing practical solutions to environmental
problems to carry us into
- Inspiring - instilling the desire to change by practical example
- Informing - feeding the desire to change by providing the most appropriate information
- Enabling - providing effective and continuing support to put the change into practice.
CAT has a holistic approach to its work,
integrating ideas and practice relating to land use, shelter, energy conservation and use, diet and health, waste management
Having visited the center on a number of occasions, I find
it extremely interesting on how they devised their methods and practices on alternate solutions for every day problems. They
have a very interesting toilet facility…quote..
out for the compost toilet too. It's a real working example and we welcome contributions from visitors! The innovative, single-chambered
design is hygienic and relatively smell-free. It is intended for both rural and urban use. To be on the safe side we don't
place the resulting compost close to food crops, but it makes excellent fertiliser for fruit trees
These similar systems are used
on the Asian Continent in recent times as described here
Composting Toilets: Treating the Problem, not the Symptoms
The ReSource Institute has built 35 waterless composting
toilet facilities in Juigalpa. These aerobic compost converters have the capacity to accommodate over 2,500 uses per day.
Wastes are contained in a concrete vessel and reduced in volume by over 90% over a two-year period. The remaining products
of this process, a humus rich in plant nutrients and a nitrogen-rich liquid fertilizer, are odor-free and safe to handle.
Naturally, if one has the time, ability and suitable land/location
these prepared systems would be ideal, however, in this section we will look at the more immediate facility that one may construct
for short-term emergencies.
Rest stop – If you are unprepared, or on long journeys
and do not wish to use the “natural” facilities, try these in emergency situations – the ‘Restop’
However, the majority of us will be stuck in one place,
so it is important to know how to set up and use your alternate sanitation facility safely.
One of the most easiest and safest systems would be the
portable toilet that one may take on camping trips. Easily transported, quickly set up and easy to clean.
Examples – ‘Packin Potty’
If you have never been camping or have not camped for some
time, take a look at this useful informative site
In particular (‘primitive’ toilets) http://www.totalescape.com/active/camp/potty.html
Build your own sawdust toilet
Online book The Humanure Handbook
A Guide to Composting Human Manure
Deserts and sandy locations; – ‘instant
method’.- the ‘cat hole’.
The dry desert climate preserves human waste before decomposition,
so ensure you are well away from the camp and areas where food may be stored or handled. In addition at least a few hundred
feet away from water sources
Dig a hole in the sand approximately 18 inches deep and
6 inches in circumference, and merely sit over the hole in order to defecate.
Ensure after you have finished to clean up and bury all
refuse under at least a foot or so of sand.
Remember, when camping or ‘bush-crafting’ always
clean up after you. Bury any unwanted natural waste in order for it to decompose naturally, and if you have burnt any rubbish
or made a fire for cooking etc, ensure the fire is well and truly out, and cover with damp sand or soil. The last thing we
want to see, especially in the dry hot weather, is a forest fire.
For more information on the above, link to ‘camp
‘Think before you burn’
Enjoy the outdoors and leave it as you would like to find
A guide on general community sanitation
Environmental sanitation guideline standards
- A latrine should be provided
for every 20 people or ideally 1 per family sited not farther than 50m from the users' accommodations and not nearer than
- Provide at least 1 100 litre
refuse bin for each 50 people.
- Provide at least 1 wheelbarrow
per 500 people.
- Provide one tip-truck (1-2 ton
capacity) per 5,000 people.
- Provide 1 communal refuse pit
(2m x 5m x 2m) per 500 people.
- Provide water taps at a rate
of 1 per 200 people sited not farther than 100 m from user accommodations.
- Especially where sedimentation
tanks are needed, site storage capacity should equal at least one day's supply of water
General information can be found here;