PROFILE - HYGINUS LAARI - Environmental Nominee
Hyginus picked up a prize for Environmental Excellence
Hyginus Laari is a Young Champions of the Earth prize changemaker. He is a Ghanaian national who came up with an innovative idea to use rice husk waste in establishing eco-friendly toilets in lieu of open defecation which is widespread in Ghana and contributes to the spread of bacterial diseases such as cholera and diarrhea.
In Tamale, Northern Ghana, 25-year-old Hyginus Laari kept coming back to a problem he saw widespread in his community. Open defecation, instead of using toilets, contributes to the spread of bacterial diseases such as cholera and diarrhea.
The tropical climate of Tamale makes its soil favorable for the cultivation of staple cereals, legumes and tubers, and rice is a very popular food. But when milling rice, the husk on the outer part of the grain is often thrown away—wasted.
Highlights of Hyginus Excellence Achievement
Yet the husk has unique physical and chemical properties that are not being harnessed in Ghana and across many other African countries. Laari—a regional finalist in the Young Champions of the Earth prize in 2018—decided to change this, using waste rice to address the problem of open defecation.
His idea is an eco-toilet, installed using boards made from rice husks. The husks are first dried and screened for particles of the right size. Then, they are blended and a special adhesive in liquid form is sprayed to make a sheet. The sheets are then compressed, heated, cooled, trimmed and sanded down.
The toilets are made using a granite flooring. A commode is then inserted and pipes leading toward a pit, and rice-husk panels are screwed into place to complete the walls around the toilets. Laari is now looking for funding to scale up his idea.
Laari seeks to install household eco-toilet facilities across communities in Ghana and Africa. And, to create sanitation awareness across Ghana and Africa—most recently through a mobile application. His vision is to continue to reach out and inspire more young people to solve environmental problems, especially those addressed by the Sustainable Development Goals, contributing to the 2030 agenda.