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Individual's perception and the potential of urine as a fertiliser in eThekwini, South Africa.

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Climate change, environmental degradation and unsustainable consumption of resources are increasingly putting a strain on the Earth's natural wealth. More sustainable sanitation behaviour such as maximising the use of urine diversion dry toilets (UDDT) can help alleviate the strain on water resources. Urine could be used as a fertiliser as it contains nitrogen and phosphorus, important components required for the soil. Furthermore, with urine as a fertiliser, it would now be free, accessible to all and decrease the need to mine phosphate. This research explores the perceptions and knowledge of farmers in the eThekwini municipality about urine and its use in agriculture. It seeks to understand if this practice is socially acceptable in order to contribute to the debate of food security. To investigate the attitudes towards urine, 12 interviews were conducted with farmers who consult with the Umbumbulu Agri-Hub and at the Newlands Mashu Permaculture Learning Centre (NMPLC). These interviews were done in order to find out their views of urine and its possibility on integrating ecological sanitation, more specifically urine reuse in their programmes. According to Ajzen's (1991) theory of planned behaviour as a framework the findings suggest that: individuals' and others self-perception and non-motivational factors such as smell and lack of training remain barriers to usage as well as lack of knowledge about its potential for fertilising capabilities. In Zulu culture urine is utilised in various ways and is deemed acceptable for medicinal and spiritual purposes. Nonetheless, there seems to be a negative perception of urine amongst most respondents. However, many farmers expressed curiosity towards the use of urine in agriculture if not for themselves then for future generations. This would allow an important role for organisations such as the Agri-Hub and NMPLC to aid in disseminating the knowledge concerning urine reuse in agriculture.


Thesis (M.Dev.Studies)-University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, 2012.


Urea as fertilizer--KwaZulu-Natal--eThekwini Metropolitan Area., Theses--Development studies.