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Eco-friendly toilets to help manage Accra's waste disposal problem


Waste management remains one of the biggest challenges for Ghana. Whereas many homes in the capital, Accra do not have access to toilet facilities, those who do face the dilemma of how to dispose off the waste when their septic tanks are full.

For years, human excreta from across the capital is emptied into the sea near the coastal town of James Town. This is in spite of the health risks associated with the practice.

In a desperate attempt to find a solution to the inconvenience of having to empty his household septic tank after every four months, Kweku Anno tapped into the science he learned back at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, to come up with a personal solution to a general problem.

“I developed a new paving product that allows water to peculate through the paving material,” Anno told Africanews.

“In another instance, I got a wave, I did a tower in which I had layers of this paving material and it worked very well. For years, I didn’t have to empty the septic tank again. But then when I dismantled this tower of porous materials after a number of years I realized it was empty and rather filled with earth worms and one thing led to the other and you have the biofil as it is,” he explained.

The multi-faceted biofil technology targets people from all levels of the economic divide with a range of products.

As a result, the biofil toilets are now being used in some homes, schools and offices across Accra.

The system employs simple methods of aerobic decomposition of the solid waste and bio-filtration of the liquid waste thus eliminating human contact.

Through natural means, the system purifies the liquid waste before so there is no sludge or odour.

The eco-friendly digester is also portable in terms of the space it occupies. It takes up to approximately 1.65 square-meters of land.

Since the solid waste decomposes, there is no need for users to think about maintenance costs for their septic tanks.

The facility thus averts all risks of dumping untreated waste into the sea or any other source of water body thereby protecting the environment from pollution.

John Appea who uses the facility told Africanews that with “the traditional septic system, it gets filled with water which calls for emptying using the septic emptier on a number of times at a very high cost, but this system is able to withstand that problem”.

Users of the technology believe a broader use will ensure a better disposal of human waste in the capital especially as there is a legal suit seeking to stop the dumping human waste into the sea.

Photo Credit: biofilcom.org

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