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Revista de Salud Pública

Print version ISSN 0124-0064


GARCIA-UBAQUE, César A; VACA-BOHORQUEZ, Martha L  and  GARCIA-UBAQUE, Juan C. Dry toilets: a means of alternative sanitation. Rev. salud pública [online]. 2014, vol.16, n.4, pp.638-689. ISSN 0124-0064.

Objective Evaluating dry toilet use in a rural area of Colombia. Method Fifteen families were selected by convenience sampling from the rural area of a municipality in the Cundinamarca department in Colombia. A dry (composting) toilet was installed in one house and used for demonstration purposes over a five-month period. An ex-post evaluation was made concerning technical and economic matters. Results A dry toilet is easy to construct/install and has environmental benefits associated with less contamination of water sources reduction and a reduced amount of chemical fertilizer. Dry toilets’ construction and operating costs may represent savings of Col$616973456 (US$308487) in the municipality being studied, compared to the costs involved in conventional toilet use. However, cultural barriers were found regarding their use. Discussion A large percentage of households in many countries’ rural sectors do not have a sewerage system for disposing of human waste. This situation creates significant challenges regarding environmental health and ecosystem conservation. Dry toilets represent an environmentally-acceptable solution from a technical and economic perspective; however, work is required concerning social and cultural factors producing cultural perceptions and prejudices about handling excreta to provide the necessary coverage and produce a significant impact on people’s awareness.

Keywords : Environmental health; excreta disposal; composting toilet; basic sanitation.

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