‘Urine can be used as fertiliser’

Neha Basudkar
Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Experts react to Nitin Gadkari’s statement regarding using urine as subsitute to chemical fertilisers

Pune: Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari’s recent statement of storing urine to end the need of import of urea holds potential, according to the pesticide experts and environmentalists. But it needs to be implemented in a proper and scientific manner.

Shankar Raut, Head, Agriculture University Plant Diseases Department, said, “Urine can be used as a substitute for chemical fertilisers as it is an excellent source of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium which are necessary in large quantities for plant growth. One litre of urine contains 11 gms of nitrogen, 1 gm of phosphorus and 2 gms of potassium. Nitrogen promotes leafy growth, phosphorus promotes root development and seed germination. Phosphorous and potassium promote fruit and flower development.”

“Human waste has been used as organic fertiliser since ancient times. Its use in agriculture is still commonly practiced in many areas around the world, including parts of Southeast Asia and Africa. Extensive reliance on mineral fertiliser is consuming copious amounts of fossil energy and mineral resources. Recycling nutrients from human urine is a promising solution to the depletion of mineral resources,” Raut added. 

Priyadarshini Karve, environmentalist and Director of Samuchit Enviro Tech, a city-based NGO, said, “It has been proven by people that urea can be used as a fertiliser without any harm to the field. Any biological material can be a substitute to petrochemicals. Some of the villages of the country are using cattle urine mixed with sawdust as a fertiliser. And it can be implemented in a decentralised way on a small scale basis.”

Success story by using urine as fertiliser
Darewadi, a village 35 kms from Pune, is an open defecation free village and it has 40 non-water sanitation toilets which are called dry composting toilets, set up with the help of Non-Water Sanitation Organisation.

These toilets do not require much water yet can be maintained and kept clean and are designed in a manner that generates dry manure which can be used as fertiliser in agriculture. It has two sections for excreta and urine which get collected in two separate chambers at the outlet.

Kalyani Rao, Country Manager of Non-Water Sanitation Organisation, said, “In rural areas of Maharashtra, we have installed over 100 such toilets. After six to eight months, urine can be used as fertiliser. We have used it for garlic, onion, brinjal, chilies etc.”

“In fact, traditional or western toilets that consume water are more unhygienic and unclean and emit foul smell. These toilets are dry, don’t smell, easy to maintain and hygienic. This kind of practice attracted rural people as they would get high-quality compost for farming. We received a feedback stating that these compost has helped them produce high-quality crops. Since water and sanitation are major problems across the globe, we are trying to implement a treatment which will enable to save water and keep the environment healthy,” she said.

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