SASHA KRAMER, an ecologist, was having success promoting greater sanitation in Haiti when she lost access to her nonprofit’s only composting site in Port-au-Prince: a dump that was being mismanaged.

Her group, SOIL, provides toilets to poor households. Each week it sent representatives to empty the five-gallon buckets, bring the waste to the dump and turn it into compost, which was sold to farmers as fertilizer.

Nearly nine years into the work, though, the local dump fell into chaos when the private company managing it lost its contract. The government ceased to keep access roads clear and began burning trash to clear it.

“We managed to keep the compost site open, but we could only get in there once every two weeks,” Dr. Kramer said. “There was so much smoke out there that it was becoming a health risk.”

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