A Novel Use For Rice Husks In Ghana

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Hyginus Laari Credit at the African Youth SDG Summit. Photo by African Youth SDG Summit

By UN Environment

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.  

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. Read more>>

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