A Kenyan recycling company is improving sanitation for slum dwellers in Nairobi and turning waste products into fertilizer for farmers.
Anita Mutinda moves into a small structure located inside a cluster of temporary homes, which she calls home, in the middle of Mukuru Kwa Ruben, a poor neighborhood in Kenya’s capital Nairobi.
The structure is one of the toilets installed here by a company providing much needed service. This is one of the reasons why Mutinda rented and has been living here for five years.
She says life where she previously lived was difficult because she had to pay five shillings every time she used a public toilet, and it was far from home. Here, he does not have to pay a single cent for using this facility.
His landlady, Deborah Kerubo, says that the availability of toilet facilities on her property has become a major selling point.
She says tenants want a facility that has access both day and night. If they don’t find it, they’ll keep going, she says, until they find what they’re looking for.
no sewage system
Mukuru Kwa Ruben, like many other slum areas of Kenya’s capital, is not connected to the sewage system. An estimated 60% of the population lives with this lack of sanitation.
These conditions are a major cause of communicable diseases, says Eliza Gachoki, clinical officer at the local community health center. “We tend to get water wash diseases, conjunctivitis and skin diseases, hence there is a need for proper safe and adequate provision of hygiene,” he expressed.
It’s a gap that Sanergy, a company that provides sanitation solutions, says it is bridging. Sanergy provides toilets that separate liquid and dry waste and helps with waste management in informal settlements.
Sheila Kibuthu, External Relations Manager, Sanerji Kenya, says that the company believes in not wasting any waste. On a regular basis, she notes, “we make sure we provide a waste management service where all sanitation waste is generated and then safely removed and processed along with other forms of organic waste.” is taken to our organic recycling factory.”
turned to fertilizer
Toilet waste is collected daily and mixed with other organic waste of the community. It is then processed at Sanerji’s plant on the outskirts of Nairobi and turned into other agricultural inputs such as organic fertilizer and high-protein feed for livestock.
“One of the biggest challenges facing farmers today is soil infertility, so what organic fertilizer does is that it helps restore soil fertility and thus farmers can improve their yields.”
Saenerji believes that more and more farmers will be served as it continues the cycle of converting waste into useful products while providing an essential service.
Currently, the company has over 5,000 toilets spread across 11 informal settlement areas in Nairobi, serving over 140,000 residents.