Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Erdos Eco-Town Project

I’ve just received in today’s post The Challenges of Urban Ecological Sanitation Lessons from the Erdos Eco-Town Project, China, written by Arno Rosemarin, Jennifer McConville, Amparo Flores, Zhu Qiang, and published in May this year by Practical Action Publishing. The publisher’s blurb says that this book “highlights the experience of implementing the Erdos Eco-Town Project in Inner Mongolia, China. This remains the largest urban project of urine-diversion dry toilets in the world, serving a population of approximately 3000 people in 4–5 storey apartment buildings. The multi-storey collection system also links to on-site grey water treatment, a composting centre, underground urine tanks, and the agricultural reuse of nutrients. The Challenges of Urban Ecological Sanitation describes the technical design, daily operation and maintenance, costs and benefits compared to conventional systems [but not to simplified sewerage], as well as the challenges in achieving acceptability with users.”

So far I’ve only read Chapter 5 “Social acceptance” and there’s much mention of odour, but no mention of ‘dust’. Flushing the ‘ecoloo’ with sawdust creates a lot of actual dust – and this flushing could only be done while the user was still sitting on it: not a problem for men as (I suppose) they just brushed the dust off, but a major discomfort for women who found their external genitalia covered in dust. Ghastly!

Anyway I’ll be taking the book off in a couple of weeks as unmissable ‘holiday’ reading…