County governments should take human waste management, better referred to as night soil, seriously, especially when it comes to public toilets. A case in point is Nairobi, where public toilets in the informal settlements and markets are very old, dating back to colonial times.
Nairobi has close to five million people during daytime and a very well-structured way of accessing public toilets for this population is needed as a priority on public health. The management of these public toilets is either done by community-based organisations (CBOs) or are privately owned.
The initiative has created income-generating labour for the youth but City Hall ought to provide more public toilets. This can be done through the county working with Kura and KeNHA to explore and exploit the possibility of providing public toilets in places with high human traffic like footbridges and bus terminuses.
Commercialise public toilets
The county, through the same road authorities, could earmark strategic areas of our streets and highways for such facilities. Working with the business community to commercialise public toilets as a business venture should also be considered. The possibility of working with sponsors to build more toilets that will operate and transfer, like the case of the Ecotat toilet concept, should be explored.
Value addition to human waste is an innovation that should be embraced by the counties. The case of Synergy, a company that is involved in supplying fresh life toilets in informal settlements, might be the way to go in all counties. The arrangement empowers the communities to earn a living through charging users and Synergy then collecting the human waste to use it as raw material to make compost fertiliser.
Working smart with other entities who may want waivers to advertise on public toilet facilities can attract them to construct more public toilets, thereby enhancing sanitation levels.
Mr Kigo is an environmentalist. [email protected].