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  • Topic: Ecological sanitation, Sanitation, South Africa
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  • Published : May 15, 2013
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INDIVIDUALS’ PERCEPTION & THE POTENTIAL OF URINE AS A FERTILIZER IN ETHEKWINI, SOUTH AFRICA. Natalie Benoit Masters’ Student at the School of Built Environment and Development Studies, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa. Tel: 083-864-1131; email: natalie.benoit@hotmail.com ABSTRACT Climate change, environmental degradation and unsustainable consumption of resources are increasingly putting a strain on the Earth’s natural wealth. More sustainable sanitation behaviour such as using wholly UDDT (urine diverting dry toilets) can help alleviate the strain on water resources. Urine could be used as a fertilizer as it contains nitrogen and phosphorus. Furthermore, with urine as a fertilizer, it would now be free, accessible to all and decrease our need to mine phosphate. This paper explores the perceptions and knowledge of farmers in the eThekwini municipality about urine and its use in agriculture. It seeks to understand if this practice would socially acceptable in order to contribute to the debate of food security. To investigate the attitudes towards urine, interviews were conducted with farmers who consult with the UmBumbulu Agri-Hub and at the Newlands Mashu Permaculture Learning Centre (NMPLC). These interviews were done in order to find out their views of urine and its possibility on integrating ecological sanitation, more specifically urine reuse in their programmes. Preliminary results illustrate that individuals’ self-perception, that of others and non-motivational factors such as smell and lack of training remain as barriers to usage as well as lack of knowledge about its potential for fertilizing capabilities. In Zulu culture urine seems to be utilised in various ways and is deemed acceptable for medicinal or spiritual purposes. Nonetheless, there seems to be a negative perception of urine amongst most respondents. Even so, many farmers expressed curiosity towards the use of urine in agriculture. Keywords: FERTILIZER, PERCEPTION, PLANNED BEHAVIOR, URINE REUSE.

INTRODUCTION
Sanitation remains a pressing issue across the world. It is estimated that in 2002, 2.6 billion individuals did not have access to improved sanitation (WHO & UNICEF 2005). In 2004 it was estimated that approximately 18 million South Africans, mostly in rural areas, did not have adequate sanitation (Republic of South Africa 2004). However, considering Earth’s finite resources such as potable water, adequate sanitation may have to be redefined in order to utilise water sustainably. It would not be sustainable to provide flush toilets to all 18 million South Africans. Many areas in South Africa, which has non-renewable groundwater reserves, are already experiencing seasonal water shortages. In the long run, using potable water to flush human waste down the drain is unsustainable no matter where in the world, even in water rich countries such as Canada (FAO 2003). Thus, alternative technologies must be used in order to cut down on water consumption. The aim of this research is to understand the perceptions and knowledge farmers about using fertilizer in the form of urine for agriculture. It is also seeks to determine if this practice would be socially acceptable and possibly incorporating urine re-use as one of the methods in the trainings provided by the organisations to the farmers, in order to contribute to the debate on the potential of food security. A literature review will provide a brief overview of the history of urine uses, the concept of ecological sanitation (EcoSan) and South African perceptions of urine. The methodology used to conduct the research, results and discussions of the findings will follow

Individuals’ Perception & the Potential of Urine as a Fertilizer in eThekwini, South Africa LITERATURE REVIEW

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The Urine Market through History Throughout history, humans have adopted human waste (urine and faeces) for medical (for diagnosis and therapeutic purposes), cleansing, aesthetic and agricultural...
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