JSTOR: A History of Human Waste As Fertilizers
In eighteenth-century Japan, human waste served a critical role in local agricultural production says JSTOR Daily. Their question in the recent article on sanitation history: can similar solutions help manage waste today?
In the 1700s, Japanese community members saw human waste as a valuable substance for their crops and a viable tool for soil restoration and food security. It was so esteemed that landlords actually owned the rights to it and stealing the waste was a punishable crime! At this moment in history, the valorization of waste in the country put Japan’s sanitation miles ahead of European countries facing public health and hygiene challenges.
That’s when sewer-based sanitation comes into the picture. “As a short-term solution, Western sanitation saved millions of lives, but in the long term, it may prove to be far from ideal. It is also expensive and resource-intensive. It requires large amounts of water, complex machinery, and energy, which is typically derived from fossil fuels.” These expensive and resource-intensive sewer systems are also infeasible for rapidly expanding urban neighborhoods with high water tables, contested land tenure, and limited space. What might be more ideal?
SOIL’s safely treats and composts human waste in a way that is “similar to the Japanese farmers—and then uses it to enrich the country’s depleted lands,” says JSTOR. “Combining the benefits of Western sanitation and Japanese sewage recycling,” SOIL and fellow members of the Container-Based Sanitation Alliance (CBSA) are showing the world how to tackle the urban sanitation crisis while revalorizing waste and responding to tough environmental challenges.
Click here to read the original article to learn more about the fascinating history of the use of human waste as compost and how SOIL and CBSA practitioners are devising a better way. Go compost!
SOIL depends on individual donations from people like you to fund our work in Haiti. Please consider supporting SOIL today.
Other Recent SOIL Coverage
- SOIL Featured in New Book: Pipe Dreams by author Chelsea Wald Apr 16, 2021
- SOIL featured in Expo 2020 Dubai Global Best Practice Programme | Untold Stories Oct 5, 2020
- An Interview with Entre Nous: A Big Problem in Haiti – the Environment Sep 15, 2020
- Yon ti chita pale ak “Entre Nous”: Yon Gwo Pwoblem an Ayiti – Anviwonman an Sep 15, 2020
- Yale Climate Connections: As the planet warms, can we afford to treat poop as waste? Sep 1, 2020
- August Newsletter: SOIL Launches New Marketing Campaign as Emergency Measures are Lifted Aug 12, 2020
- SEE Change Magazine talks with SOIL on how COVID-19 is Impacting the Most Vulnerable Jun 9, 2020
- National Geographic: Explorers in the Field visits SOIL May 28, 2020
- SOIL Chosen as Editors’ Pick in the Food Planet Prize May 25, 2020
- SOCIETY Magazine: Completing the Poop Loop Jan 20, 2020
Photo credit: Getty