The ventilated improved pit “V.I.P” latrine offers improved sanitation by eliminating flies and
smell, through air circulation. The addition of a chimney draws air currents into the structure
and through squat hole. Odours rise through the chimney and disperse. The structure of the
toilet means that any flies attracted to the pit through the squat hole will try to escape by
heading towards the strongest light source, which comes from the chimney. The flies exit is
blocked by a wire mesh so the flies eventually die and fall back into the pit. The spiral
structure prevents too much light entering the toilet while allowing a free flow of air.
Hygiene is obviously an important issue wherever
the toilet is located but more so where there are
many users. Faecal-borne diseases take more
lives and create more suffering than war or natural
disaster, but do attract as much media coverage.
Due to the number of fatalities, it is important to
consider hygiene and cleanliness. A dirty latrine
is not only unpleasant to use, especially bare foot,
but smells and attract flies, bringing more
diseases. The number of flies can be reduced by
using a ventilated improved pit latrine.
If the latrine is well designed then there should be
less concern for disease as the latrine will be easy
to clean, (clean-able floor and surfaces), as well
as including a sanitary plate (SanPlat) or pour-
flush system. The solution, to better use of
latrines is simple, and depends on the three
factors of sanitation, water supply and hygiene
There are many types of latrine, which already
exist, constructed in a variety of ways from
different materials. Depending upon the
environment and the number of users, the design
of a latrine is altered to suit the needs of the
There are many questions that can be asked
before constructing a latrine, below are some you
may want to think about:
Figure 1: A ventilated improved pit -latrine
What type should be built? – Where is it being built and who is going to use it?
Private or community?
How complicated is it to build or use? – What materials and labour are needed? Are
they on location or do specialists need to be contacted?
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