Pedal Powered Poo Pumps

The poorest slums in many developing nations use pit latrines for human waste collection. A Cambridge University researcher proposes a bicycle powered suction pump to empty the latrines and transport the fecal matter away for treatment or disposal.

Boy in front of typical Pit latrine in Kampala slums Typical pit latrine in Kampala slums.

Cambridge graduate student Nate Sharpe at the Centre for Sustainable Development developed a prototype “Pedal Powered Poo Pump,” which is simply a bicycle with buckets, a big hose and a pump attached. You bike to each latrine, prop the bike up on its stand, throw the hose into the stink hole and pedal to power the suction pump to empty the latrine.

‘Pit latrines are filling up faster than ever and people are often forced to rely on unhygienic emptying methods,’ explains Sharpe. ‘If smaller amounts of the sludge could be removed more often, it becomes easy to transport – even on the back of a bicycle.’

Sharpe has also developed a model for small businesses to run a latrine emptying service which he hopes will be inexpensive enough so that even the poorest can have usable latrines at their shanty. He plans to pioneer this service at Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, where about 80% of the 4 million residents live in slum conditions.

bicycle latrine truck

Cambrdige EPO Online (where you can see a photo of the latrine bike) and Clean Technica (which uses a photo of Hello Kitty bikes to illustrate the story).

Remember, the Yehuda Moon Virtual Alleycat continues through the entire week!

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