Arbor Loos Do Double Duty on World Toilet Day

Ethiopia Arbor Loo

An arbor loo in Ethiopia serves as a sanitary latrine and fertilizer for growing plants. Photo by CRS Staff

Today Catholic Relief Services recognizes World Toilet Day as a way to call attention to the fact that hundreds of millions of people worldwide lack access to clean water and safe sanitation services.

One of the many innovations that CRS water and sanitation experts bring to impoverished areas is the Arbor Loo.

For less than $20 per family, CRS is helping to improve sanitation, provide more food and put local masons to work in an innovative project to construct arbor loos.

An arbor loo is a shallow pit latrine which, once filled, becomes a “pre-fertilized” base for a plant, such as a fruit tree. This creative device does double duty — providing improved sanitation and fertilizer for plantings.

When the latrine is dug, a simple concrete slab is placed over the opening. A portable shelter, often built of mud, branches or stalks, provides privacy. Ashes are thrown in after each use to help prevent odor and discourage flies. Once the latrine is full, it is capped with good topsoil and a seedling is planted on top.

In some communities, arbor loos have proven so popular that some farmers have taken to digging even shallower pits so they can fill them faster and plant more seedlings.

CRS is committed to improving water and sanitation conditions for the poor around the world, and access to a toilet is a major concern. Almost 40 percent of the world’s population has no access to a toilet. Since 2006, CRS has supported the construction of more than 38,000 arbor loos in Africa.

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One Response to “Arbor Loos Do Double Duty on World Toilet Day”

  1. Mekete Says:

    I think this arbor loos are from one of the project sites of Meki Catholic Secretariat, a very strong implementing partner of CRS/Ethiopia. I got a chance to see the production and also the use of this Arborloos. This is a very good strategy that CRS has come up with. It is economical, easy to manage and also when the toilet becomes full they will plant a fruit trees like Avocado, Papaya, Orange it is like two birds in one stone.

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