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Public Perceptions of Faecal Sludge Biochar and Biosolids Use in Agriculture
Sustainability, Volume: 14, Issue: 22, Start page: 15385
Swansea University Authors: Larissa Nicholas, Keith Halfacree , Ian Mabbett
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DOI (Published version): 10.3390/su142215385
Full-scale pyrolysis of faecal sludge is a credible technology for the safe removal of pathogens and the concurrent creation of biochar, which has been shown to enhance crop productivity. Faecal sludge biochar has the potential to improve acidic, low nutrient soils and crop yield in developing natio...
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Full-scale pyrolysis of faecal sludge is a credible technology for the safe removal of pathogens and the concurrent creation of biochar, which has been shown to enhance crop productivity. Faecal sludge biochar has the potential to improve acidic, low nutrient soils and crop yield in developing nations more at risk of climate change and food insecurity. Little research has been conducted into public acceptance of faecal sludge biochar as a soil enhancer in agriculture. In this study of the public in Swansea, Wales, an online survey examines their awareness of, and comfort levels of eating food grown using biosolids, wood biochar and faecal sludge biochar. Our findings show that males were almost twice as likely than females to have a positive perception of biosolids (OR 1.91, p value 0.004) and faecal sludge biochar (OR 2.02, p value 0.03). Those in the oldest age group (65+) were almost five times more likely to have a positive view of faecal sludge biochar than the youngest age group (OR 4.88, p value 0.001). Deployment of faecal sludge biochar must overcome a “disgust effect” related to its human faecal origins. This factor must be centrally taken into account when implementing management and policy decisions regarding the land application of biosolids and faecal sludge biochar.
biochar; faecal sludge; land application; public perception; biosolids; Wales
Faculty of Science and Engineering
This work was supported, in whole or in part, by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation [OPP1149054], and under the grant conditions of the Foundation, a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Generic License has already been assigned to the Author Accepted Manuscript version that might arise from this submission. The work was also supported by Swansea University’s “SUNRISE” project funded through GCRF via EPSRC [EP/P032591/1].