Journalists for Human rights in partnership with WECF from Germany, Eco-Forum Zenica from Bosnia, Women in Development Shkodër  from Albania, and UNEP launched the project “Reducing chemicals and contamination of sources of drinking water in rural communities”. The project’s goal is to build Ecosan Toilets, set waste filters and compost, to help reduce the use of chemical fertilizers and protect water resources in rural areas of Southeast Europe.

The project specifically refers to reducing the problem of drinking water pollution caused by widely used pit latrines in rural areas, as well as poor management of water resources with intensive use of chemical fertilizers and unsafe waste disposal.

To this end, NGO Journalists for Human Rights and the partners will construct a demonstration ecosan toilet (Urine Diverting Dry Toilet), a gray water filter, and compost and demonstration garden. The goal is for citizens to see the benefits of setting up and using such a toilet, primarily to promote proper waste water management.

From the past activities on the field we came to the knowledge that the villages in our country suffer from poor sanitation system and extensive use of chemical fertilizers and high levels of nitrates. Our project will focus precisely on preventing environmental pollution by using non-chemical alternatives and the implementation of environmentally friendly sanitation. The project focuses on the needs of the rural population in improving their environment and living conditions through acceptable and sustainable technologies. It aims to reduce contamination of soil and water resources; Recycling of organic substances, safe use in agriculture and reduction of synthetic fertilizers.

The following technologies will be demonstrated: urine diverting dry toilets (UDDT or Ecosan), production of organic fertilizers, composting and grey water treatment.

Journalists for Human Rights targeted three possible places where an Ecosan toilet would be installed:

  • Stenje village
  • Jabolce village
  • Recreational Center Treska.

After consulting our partners, we decided to set up the Ecosan demonstration toilet in the village of Jabolce, Sopiste municipality.

For the needs of the project a working group was formed and the activities that we will work in the following period were set up. At the same time the rural areas in Macedonia that need Ecosan toilets were mapped, to make presentations of the project in these villages and assistance in their installation will be offered.

Users of Ecosan toilets will benefit from the project by receiving:

  • Long-term and sustainable sanitation, and knowledge to build more Ecosan toilets
  • Knowledge and resources will be gained on how to use organic fertilizers, rather than chemicals
  • Access to cleaner drinking water, and hence fewer diseases caused by unsafe water, especially for children
  • Reduced eutrophication in polluted rivers and lakes in the vicinity.

The project is funded by Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM), a Fast Start Fund.

Study visit to Moldova

Within the project, the practical use of an Ecosan toilet and its operation was demonstrated in Moldova. From September 28 to October 1, 2015 in Chisinau, Drochia and Bolduresti we visited several villages and public institutions (municipality and schools), private users of Ecosan toilets. There are over 200 Ecosan toilets in Moldova used for more than 8 years. Private users are mainly in rural households. Some of the toilets are in the houses some are outside the houses. The first impression is that the expected smell from the pit latrines in this case does not exist. There is no smell in the public toilets i.e. toilets used in schools or municipalities. With proper use, Ecosan toilets can function indefinitely. Cleaning is simple, and usage is probably a habit. In these toilets, urinal is separate from the fecal compartment. After use, the faeces is covered with wood shavings or ash, and the precisely made sewage pipes allow ventilation and remove smell. The feces is collected in a separate reservoir (container, box) from the urine (tube, barrel …). Knowing that an average person annually produces 30-50 kg faeces and 500 liters of urine, it is easy to calculate the size of the reservoirs. With special treatment, the faeces and urine are used (returned) in nature and do not cause contamination of the environment. On the contrary, they are a source for fertilizer.