Work to set up country''s first Urine Bank initiated at Musiri

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Tiruchirapalli, Feb 16 (PTI) In an effort to use humanurine as fertiliser, efforts to set up the country''s firstHuman Urine Bank have been initiated at Musiri, about 35 kmsfrom here.

The initiative, a joint effort of the Indian Institute ofTechnology, New Delhi and Society for Community Organisationand People�s Education (SCOPE), Musiri, was launched to helpextraction of Struvite from urine. Struvite is a phosphatemineral that can be used as a fertiliser.

The Urine Bank, work on which was initiated on Feb 15,will be set up at Musiri taking advantage of the availabilityof processed urine in the Ecosan Community Compost Toilet(ECCT) and individual Ecosan toilets in the region, which wereestablished some years ago.

The Ecosan toilets were set up to help turn faeces intomanure and use urine as a fertiliser. About 300 litres ofurine is collected per week at ECCTs in Musiri.

Subburaman, Director, SCOPE, said his organisation hadcompleted 25 years of service in the field of sanitation andwas launching the Urine Bank project during it silver jubileeyear. "Urine contains vital nutrients such as Nitrogen,Phosphorus and Potassium, which can be used as a fertilisers",he said.

"These nutrients can be recovered from urine as Struviteby chemical precipitation and absorption. At present, thenutrient in millions of tonnes of urine available in thecountry every day is going waste since it is not collectedseparately", he said.

Launching the Urine Bank initiative, SjoerdNienhuys, Consultant of WASTE, a Netherlands-based NGO thatwas involved in the setting up of the ECCTs, said it wasnecessary to pursue alternative, cost-effective fuel the yearsto come in view of the rapid depletion of fossil fuel.

"The need of the hour is establishment of renewableenergy-based fuel like biogas that will not cause any harm tothe environment when meeting the requirements of the rapidlyincreasing population", he said.

Agreeing with his views, V Ganapathy, former journalistand advisor, Exnora, said, "Urine is used as liquid fertilizerin Sweden, Netherlands, Mexico, Germany, China".

He added that the feasibility of using urine as afertiliser has been well-established in the farms of Musiri bythe research programmes conducted by the Tamil NaduAgricultural University, National Research Centre for Banana,WASTE of Netherlands and Department of Drinking Water Supply,Government of India, New Delhi.

As India is an importer of fertilisers, and the price offertilisers is going up steeply, there is a need for exploringalternative nutrient sources such as human urine, he said. PTICOR ARP

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