Comparison of plant nutrient levels between compost from Sky loo and Fossa alterna toilets
Recent scholars have highlighted the benefit of harvesting compost from eco-san toilets for application as plant nutrients. However, levels of nutrients in eco-san compost may vary depending on the type of toilet and also the type of top soil in a particular geographical region. This study compared levels of nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, calcium and sodium between compost from Sky loo and Fossa alterna toilets. Samples were collected from Zimora and Ng’ombe villages in Chikhwawa district, southern Malawi. Statistical analysis using SPSS showed significantly higher levels of nitrogen, calcium and moisture in compost from Fossa alterna toilets than in Sky loo (p < 0.05). However, there were no significant differences in the levels of potassium in the two types of eco-san compost studied. This study has revealed that compost from Fossa alterna is generally a richer source of plant nutrients than that from Sky loo thereby presenting poor, local communities in sub-Saharan Africa with a cheaper alternative to commercial fertilizer.
Key words: Eco-san toilets, compost, Malawi, plant nutrients, soil quality.