Urine banks? Is that even a thing?

Turns out it is. On Tuesday, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari strongly pitched the idea of setting up urine banks in the country to produce urea. 

”Human urine contains a lot of nitrogen. But this is wasted. Since converting waste into wealth is my passion, I feel that there is no harm in trying the idea. We already have organic substitutes for phosphorous and potassium. If we could add nitrogen, it could make an ideal plant booster,” Gadkari told The Times Of India

Sounds logical, right? However, a majority of Twitter users mocked this idea, without understanding how this actually be a good thing for the country

Now, consider these facts:

If we stop being squeamish about this bodily waste product and think scientifically, we will know how human urine can be an excellent fertilizer.

1. Our urine is 95 percent water and the remaining five percent is largely composed of a metabolic waste product called urea. It is a known fact that urea is the king of fertilizers as it has high nitrogen content which is essential for healthy plant growth. Now if this urea is extracted from urine in these banks, they can be readily given to farmers in villages, reducing their dependence on other nitrogenous fertilizers. Urine is also a viable natural alternative to chemical fertilizers and think about it, readily available, too!

Many other countries such as Sweden, Netherlands, Mexico, Germany, China already use urine as a liquid fertilizer in their farms.

b’Farmer in a field’

2. Given India is an agricultural country, it is the world’s second-biggest consumer of urea, as per a Bloomberg report. As a result, it imports over a quarter of the urea it uses. The country imported about 5.4 million tonnes of its fertilizer needs from countries including Iran, China and Iran during the last fiscal year ending in March.

Having urine banks here itself will minimize imports of urea into India. At a time when price of fertilisers is going up steeply, there remains a great need for exploring alternative nutrient sources such as human urine.

The government, in fact has also been looking for other ways to wipe out urea imports completely by 2022.