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From Tampere a new opening for Finnish environmental expertise in China
Three theses are being done in an area of 110,000 dry toilets

Three undergraduates on the Degree Programme in Environmental Engineering at Tampere Polytechnic University of Applied Sciences (TAMK) are working on theses in sustainable development in co-operation with the city of Kunming in Yunnan Province, southern China. There the students are studying the chances of improving environmental conditions in the humid climate on Lake Dian area. As a part of the solution almost half of the 110,000 dry toilets are already constructed by Kunming environmental officials.

Co-operation with Tampere Polytechnic University of Applied Sciences on eco-sanitation is awaited in south China. Eeva-Liisa Viskari, lecturer and Miikka Ristkari, student, are familiar with the issue.
High resolution image (654 Kb)
Photo: Kalle Heiska

Yunnan province produces no less than 90% of all the flowers in China. Lake Dian, which is located in the region, is China’s sixth biggest inland sea, and until a few decades ago was still fit to swim in. Due to its fertility the area’s construction and economic growth have been rapid, so that the lake water, for example, is now classified as among the poorest quality in China.

The lake area and the provincial capital (Kunming) with its surrounding villages are home to five million people. The need for fertilizers for flower cultivation, farming and vegetable production is aimed to meet the principles of sustainable development. One part of this development is adopting the principle of ecosanitation which enables the safe reuse of dry toilet waste, where urine and dry excreta are handled separately. Waste from toilets was formerly recycled into fields too fast, which impaired its safe and hygienic use, and also disabled optimal fertilization use.

The TAMK students will work in Kunming for half a year. In cooperation with the local environmental officials they will explore the condition of the lake at present and prior to its pollution, the environment and people’s experiences before and after construction of the new ecosanitation toilets. The students’ expertise include also the physico-chemical analysis of water, soil and biowaste.

The TAMK Degree Programme in Environmental Engineering, which is offered entirely in English, has in ten years become something unique in Finland. Half of the current 120 are foreigners and of these more than ten are originally from China. One of these three thesis writers is from Tampere; he also speaks Chinese, which is a great advantage in new practical co-operation initiatives with China.

The Tampere-Kunming ecosanitation co-operation initiated from the Dry Toilet 2006 Conference arranged at TAMK last August. Also Chinese experts in ecosanitation attended the conference. In TAMK the subject is also connected to the nutrient recycling research just starting up using composted dry toilet waste in the cultivation of crops.

Additional information:

Tampere Polytechnic - University of Applied Sciences
Eeva-Liisa Viskari, Lecturer
Tel. +358 40 846 9452
Tampere Polytechnic - University of Applied Sciences
Miikka Ristkari, Student
Tampere Polytechnic - University of Applied Sciences
Perttu Heino, Research Director 
Tel. +358 50 401 2168

Feel free to use all news. Photographs copyright Kalle Heiska.
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