Poor sanitation continues to be a major concern in our major slums in the country. Kibera, Korogocho and Mathere among other slums continue to face challenges of accessing clean water and proper drainage and as a result outbreaks of diseases like cholera and typhoid are experienced.
Human waste disposal to be precise has proved to be a major challenge to these slums. The Congestion of houses in these areas makes it hard for the slum dwellers to dig pit latrines, a major setback that has been known to exist since the millennium.
Last year, over 7000 thousand cases of cholera were reported from across the country with over 100 of those cases succumbing to death. Selling of raw food in unauthorized areas was established to be one of the major causes of the outbreak. Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero even took a drastic measure to Ban hawking of raw food in and around town.
A Kenyan social enterprise has however begun providing toilets to homes that lack proper sanitation, to Communities around Naivasha, about 90 km northwest of Nairobi. Locally made toilets, called "Blue Boxes," have also been introduced .Users pay a monthly charge to have them serviced twice a week.
Thomson Reuters foundation discovered an organization called Sanivation which has taken up the task of controlling waste disposal by establishing a new project in Naivasha. The new project is using solar energy to transform toilet waste into efficient cooking fuel. Normally, the waste is first treated. Later, the treated waste is combined with dried organic waste, such as sugar cane husks or corn husks, and press into a solid. The dry brick formation is called a briquette. Briquettes are used in many areas around the world as an alternative fuel to wood or charcoal
Further efforts to curb the waste issues have turned human waste into biogas, biodiesel, and fertilizer.
According to Thomson Reuters, around 80 toilets have been provided so far, serving over 400 people. But it's what happens to the waste after it is collected from the toilet that makes the project more than a simple effort to improve sanitation.
The introduction of this popular “Blue Boxes," has also eased up the situation, with their portable nature and the fact that they require no fixed plumbing.
We may spend a lot of time blaming immigration, the increment of slums and the Government for mismanaging human waste but as the blame game continues, the problem is likely to get out of control. Waste containment, emptying of the latrines, transportation of sewage facilities and treating waste in these “forgotten” areas may save us from this prolonged dissent.
With more Non-sewered sanitation approaches and advocating for public policies that support improved sanitation, we will be likely to control and achieve sanitation.