Waste not, want not

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The saying also applies to poo. This might not be a post to read over your breakfast.

On the edge of the villages that we’re walking through there are often big mounds of dried pine needles, like the pile behind the two horses.

These provide an insulating and soft bedding for the animals. When the bedding needs replacing the pine needles (along with all the animal dung) is used as a manure on the fields. It is common at this time of year to see little mounds of compost set out ready to be dug into the field.

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So far, so good.

What I hadn’t realised was that until about 10-15 years ago all human waste was also used in the same way. And still is in some of the higher areas. Before the introduction of the Indian toilet all the pine needles we’re put in as a layer between human waste. This had the effect of reducing the smell.

When you start to stray from the main path in the village you soon realise that this is still a widely practiced technique of fertilising the fields. This last picture show the relationship between loo, piles of pine needles and the field. A very efficient system for dealing with the 400kg of poo each person produces each year…
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