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Kenya's slums recycle poo to improve sanitation


In Kenya, like many emerging economies with fast-growing cities, public spending on sanitation lags far behind need. More than 8 million people live in slums, and 70% of them do not have access to toilets. Various companies are working on creating sustainable and cost-effective solutions to this problem.

Georgina lives in Mukuru, a slum in Nairobi. Currently, she shares a dry toilet with four other families.

It may not sound like much, but it’s an improvement on before, when she had to go to the toilet in this wooden cabin at the end of a poorly lit lane.

“It was not nice, we used dirty toilets, it was horrible, there were lots of germs, we even caught infections, and it was not possible to allow children to use them it was too much dirty, said Georgina.

Disease-ridden toilets are a part of daily life for the billion people worldwide living in slums… a number that the UN says is expected to triple by 2050.

The scale of the challenge is immense. But changes are coming, with Georgina and her neighbours benefiting from clean, eco-friendly toilets created by a Kenya-based company.

“With dry toilets like our toilets you do not need to build sewers, you can imagine the efforts to install sewers in such a densely populated area – it’s almost impossible,” said Michael Lwoyelo, the director Sanergy.

Another advantage of the dry toilets is the opportunity to recycle excrement. Thanks to these new sanitary facilities, excrement is recycled as organic fertiliser and sold to farmers, with the promise of seeing their yield increase by 30%

This recycling plant aims to treat 200 tons of excrement per day, or 10% of all the excrement produced in the Kenyan capital per year.

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