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< prev - next > Sanitation and Cleanliness for a Healthy Environment (Printable PDF)
Sanitation and Cleanliness for a Healthy Environment 29
Closed pit toilets
A closed pit toilet has a platform with a hole in it and a lid
to cover the hole when it is not in use. The platform can be
made of wood, concrete, or logs covered with earth. Concrete
platforms keep water out and last many years. A closed pit toilet
should also have a lining or concrete ring beam to prevent the
platform or the pit itself from collapsing. ( To make a concrete
platform and ring beam, see pages 30 and 31.)
The ventilated improved pit toilet shown on page 32 uses a
vent pipe to reduce smells and flies.
A problem with pit toilets is that once the pit is full, the toilet
can no longer be used. One way to take advantage of the waste
in full pits is to plant a tree on the site. To do this, remove the
platform, ring beam, and shelter, and cover the waste with 30
centimeters (2 hands-widths) of soil mixed with dry plant matter.
Allow several months for the waste to settle, fill it with more soil, and plant a tree.
Another option is to add soil frequently while in use and let it sit for 2 years to
allow the waste to decompose. Then dig it out, use the waste as fertilizer,
and use the pit again.
To make a closed pit toilet
1. Dig a hole less than 1 meter
across and at least 2 meters
2. Line the top of the pit with
stones, brick, concrete or other
material that will support a
platform and prevent the pit
from collapsing. A concrete ring
beam works well (see page 31).
3. Make a platform and a shelter to put over the pit. A concrete
platform works best, but local materials like logs or bamboo
and mud can work too. If you make a platform from logs, use
wood that is termite-proof and does not rot easily.