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Tuvalu: composting toilets help conserve water and boost livelihoods in Pacific islands

Published on: 07/05/2012

A new film shows how composting toilets are helping to address the serious water issues facing Tuvalu. The tiny Pacific island nation of just 10,500 inhabitants recently experienced a devastating drought. Septic tank systems are polluting the groundwater and destroying …

A new film shows how composting toilets are helping to address the serious water issues facing Tuvalu.

The tiny Pacific island nation of just 10,500 inhabitants recently experienced a devastating drought. Septic tank systems are polluting the groundwater and destroying the reefs in lagoons, forcing fishermen to spend more on fuel to travel further away to catch fish.

The Global Environment Facility supported Pacific Integrated Water Resources Management project (GEF Pacific IWRM) is addressing these problems by installing composting toilets on the main island of Funafuti. Composting toilets use almost no water and produce compost so that families can plant their own vegetables, making them less dependent on expensive food imports.

Getting people to adopt composting toilets was difficult, but once people understood the benefits, demand for the toilets increased. The project in Tuvalu has generated interest around the Pacific. Tonga has built demonstration toilets, Nauru has installed them in schools and the Marshall Islands are planning construction soon, the project web site says.

The GEF Pacific IWRM project is managing 13 national demonstration projects in 12 Pacific countries. It is being executed by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s Applied Geoscience and Technology Division (SOPAC), in partnership with UNDP and UNEP.

Related news:

  • Sharing experiences : sustainable sanitation in Southeast Asia and the Pacific, E-Source, 28 Oct 2010
  • Tuvalu: state of emergency declared due to water shortages, WASH news Asia & Pacific, 17 Oct 2011

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Source: GEF Pacific IWRM Project, 05 Mar 2012