Putting Waste to Work

Putting Waste to Work

Video. Emerging Explorer Sasha Kramer fights some of Haiti’s most pressing health, economic, and environmental problems, one toilet at a time.


6 - 12+


Biology, Ecology

NG Live

This video was filmed on Wednesday, June 22nd at the 2011 National Geographic Explorers Symposium at National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Sasha Kramer fights Haiti’s most pressing health, economic, and environmental problems, one toilet at a time. Driven by her conviction that sanitation is a basic human right, and the need for a simple, low-cost solution, Kramer turned to ecological sanitation. “Collecting, composting, and recycling human waste into fertilizer for agriculture simultaneously helps solve so many problems that result from extreme poverty: poor public health, low agricultural productivity, malnutrition, environmental degradation, and waterborne disease—the country’s leading cause of death in children under five."


  • Haitian History and perspective: agricultural production to malnourishment (start-01:53 min.)
  • Environmental destruction and post-colonial history (01:54-03:38 min.)
  • Human waste and a brown lip around Haiti (03:39-05:26 min.)
  • Poor sanitation: current examples, conditions and illnesses (05:27-06:44 min.)
  • Sewage treatment and the problem of mixing waste streams (06:45-08:47 min.)
  • Composting, ecological toilets and SOIL (08:48-10:20 min.)
  • How the SOIL toilet works and urine as "liquid gold" (10:20-11:31 min.)
  • The 2010 earthquake and a pilot project in Port-au-Prince (11:32-14:07 min.)
  • A "poop-mobile" and the composting process (14:08-15:51 min.)
  • Sustainable business, development and a household toilet model (15:52-16:36 min.)
  • Transforming waste into a resource, and solving environmental and health problems (16:37-17:21 min.)

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Media Credits

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Page Producers
Nina Page, National Geographic Society
Samantha Zuhlke, National Geographic Society
Last Updated

September 27, 2022

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