Freshwater Action Network
– grassroots influencing on water and sanitation

Take a pee, make a rupee

Did you know one person can produce enough urine that to fertilize 1 ropani (500 square meters) of land for a year? What’s more 1 ropani of land can feed a person for an entire year. There is much demand for compost in Nepal, yet unknowingly we are wasting valuable fertilizer every day.

Almost 3 billion Nepalese rupees, is spent on chemical fertilizers annually, this large sum could be saved if urine was harvested and used for agriculture.

With the aim of sensitizing people on the benefits of harvesting urine, SEWA Nepal, launched a program called ‘Take a pee, earn a rupee’ in Darechowk, Chitwan village. The program brought about drastic changes in Darechowk after its launch:

People have stopped defecating in the open because of the provision of ECOSAN toilets, "Darechowk is cleaner and residents are enjoying better yields,” said Shreerendra Prakash Pokharel, SEWA Nepal President.

Shreerendra’s dedication towards harvesting urine is not only limited to Darechowk , he travels all over Nepal advocating urine harvest to people where ever he goes. He has recently joined FAN Nepal.

Nawal Kishore Mishra, Director of Central Human Resource Development Unit at the Department of Water Supply and Sewerage also shared how he first started to experiment with urine in his own garden at his house in Baneshwor. He explained how he was embarrassed at first and would secretly check if anyone was looking before pouring urine on his plants. However, after he saw marvellous results he has since been proudly advocating the use of urine as fertilizer and now his efforts have been replicated at many parts of Nepal with great.

There are over 2,000 ECOSAN toilets all over Nepal today .However, the concept behind ECOSAN toilets and urine harvest is still very new and not widely accepted. Lack of awareness and disgust towards urine may be reasons for this.

Shreerendra believes in the need to promote ecosan to raise awareness of its benefits and encourage investment:

"ECOSAN projects and urine harvest as this will not only benefit individual people and communities but it will also improve our country's economy. In order for this to happen, the government should set aside adequate funds and facilitate co-operation and co-ordination between policy makers, government and users," he said.