A PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION ON THE ACCEPTANCE OF THE USE OF URINE BASED FERTILIZERS: A COMPERATIVE SURVEY WITH FARMERS AND ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERS
Source separated human urine, a highly concentrated solution of nutrients, may be recycled directly or indirectly for further use as fertilizer. While environmental engineers (EnvE) recommend and set the fundamentals of this practice for valorizing a wastewater stream, farmers are the immediate group to apply urine-based fertilizers (UBF) for producing crops. A preliminary survey was conducted to assess/compare the acceptance of UBF by those two groups in Turkey focusing on awareness regarding urine as fertilizer, willingness to use natural/synthetic/urine-based fertilizers, acceptance towards three different groups of products (edible crops/industrial crops/green areas) grown using UBF, and concerns about this application. Overall, the results showed that acceptance towards UBF was considerable and in general comparable for both groups. The most obvious difference in acceptance was with synthetic fertilizers which received 92% acceptance from farmers as opposed to 26% from EnvE. It was clearly stated by the farmers that they actually do not prefer to use it however they have to as there is no current alternative for increasing the crop yield. Both groups had similar and high acceptance for indirect use of UBF for all product groups up to 88%, typically 60%. However, farmers had a greater acceptance for direct use in all categories of the group of products questioned, i.e., edible crops, industrial crops and green areas. While psychological reasons were indicated as the main drawback, over 90% accepted urine diversion.