January 27, 2015
In Kenya and other developing countries, water is too precious a commodity to use in toilet flushing. So smelly pit latrines are the norm.
But the latrines are unhygienic and contribute to the spread of diseases. This explains why the world has over 2.6 billion people in developing countries without proper sanitation including clean toilets.
Under JICA’s private sector promotion program, a waterless, odorless eco-toilet is being developed and perfected in Kitengela, Kenya, by LIXIL Corporation of Japan in collaboration with Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), for use in Kenya. Called Eco-Sani, it looks like a conventional toilet.
The reason the eco-toilet is odorless is simple: When liquid and solid waste get mixed together as in conventional use in a pit toilet, both start to ferment and emit a bad odor. In the eco-toilet, they are kept separate, this fermentation does not occur or is minimized and there is no smell produced.
“This ensures a facility which remains odorless and easy to clean because of the material used to make it,” says Yu Yamakami, a Japanese person involved in the development of the toilet at the Kitengela Saidia Furaha Children’s home. “The waste also passes through a treatment process before being deposited.”
Once the waste is separated, it can be used as fertilizer in gardens, Yu added.
LIXIL recently signed a memorandum of understanding with JKUAT for technical collaboration mainly in research and development to come up with appropriate compost.
LIXIL wants to use locally available materials so that the toilet can be affordable to poor people.
When will the localized toilet be rolled out to the public?
“As soon as we complete all the necessary tests, especially in the use of local materials and prove the public that it will be cheaper than the ordinary flush toilet,” says Yu. “That, I believe will not be long!”