Tag Archives: pit latrines

Uganda: “Flying toilets” still not grounded

The lack of adequate sanitation facilities in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, has led to increased use of polythene bags – known as “flying toilets” – for human waste disposal, local officials said.

The situation is worse in slums where infrastructure is basic. The few private and public facilities that exist charge up to USh200 [US10 cents] per use of a toilet.

“These areas are characterized by poor drainage systems and in the rainy season, the problem becomes worse,” said Bernard Luyiga, a councillor in Kampala district. “We have not invested enough in this area.

“Water and sanitation in Kivulu [slum in Makerere area, which he represents on the city council] are among the worst I have come across in my life. We tried to use Eco-san toilets… but the ‘flying toilet’ has remained rampant.”

Eco-san toilets use a natural biological process to break down human waste into a dehydrated, odourless, compost-like material, and save on water use. They were developed in South Africa in the 1990s.

It is difficult to tell how many facilities exist in Kivulu, but several pits latrines were visible, with dilapidated rusty iron sheets for walls, cracked floors and plastic roofs.

Contaminated springs

The situation is similar in other slums. About 6.2 percent of households in the city have no toilet facilities at all. Most, according to chief health inspector Mohammed Kirumira, are in the slums.

“Human waste is a problem to reckon with and many households lack a toilet, bathroom or kitchen,” Kirumira told IRIN.

According to the city council: “One study conducted by Chemiphar estimated that up to 90 percent of the natural springs in Kampala are contaminated, especially in the wet season, yet this remains a major source of water for the urban slum dwellers.”

Agatha Nambi, whose house stands near a drainage stream formed by an overflowing pit latrine in Kivulu, said: “It is very difficult to keep clean here. You observe cleanliness in your home, but other people just bring their mess to you and you have to give up… that is why our children keep getting sick.”

Justus Namenya, a casual labourer living nearby, added: “This is the rainy season, so this place is unbearable. [It] becomes filthy and sometimes water flows up to your house with all the dirt in it.”

Inadequate water

Only about 65 percent of Kampala’s two million residents have access to clean water. The rest use water that is sometimes contaminated by pit latrines.

According to Uganda’s Lands, Housing and Urban Development Ministry, the high cost of piped water has forced some city dwellers to rely on springs and wells.

“Over 50 percent of household occupants in Kampala are hospitalised every three months due to malaria while contamination of water by prevalence of micro-organisms is evident in the water sources of the city,” it said in a paper.

A recent survey by the Catholic Church’s Justice and Peace Centre found that average toilet to household ratio in Kampala slums was about 1:25.

“The children are told to use the school toilets so that when they come back home, they do not ask for money to go to the toilet,” the survey report, The plight of the urban poor and yet increased rural-urban migration, noted.

“Poor sanitation accounts for cholera outbreaks that are usually experienced in the slums of Kampala.”

Urban poverty

According to UN-HABITAT, 44 percent of Kampala’s population live in unplanned, underserviced slums. Informal settlements cover up to 25 percent of the city’s total area.

In informal settlements, only 17 percent of the population can access piped water. According to UN-HABITAT: “There is a high prevalence of sanitation-related diseases such as diarrhoea, worm infestations. Malaria is also endemic.”

Some 92.7 percent of Kampala’s population, the African Development Bank found, used on-site sanitation systems including septic tanks and pit latrines. However, emptier services, which are offered mainly by private sector on a cash-on-demand basis, were inadequate.

“As a result, effluent from latrines and septic tanks is often discharged into the environment untreated,” it added.

Government response

Uganda’s State Minister for Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Michael Kafabusa Werikhe, said the government was determined to address the appalling sanitation in the city.

Kampala authorities are trying to roll out a new sewage system by 2014, financed by the European Union, German government, African Development Bank and Ugandan government.

“Uganda is targeting to uplift the lives of at least one million people by the year 2020 through implementing the slum upgrading strategy and action plan,” Werikhe told IRIN on 7 January.

“We believe that slums are a development challenge which must be addressed to create harmony in our societies,” he added.

Source: IRIN, 08 Jan 2010

Uganda: toilet dispute ends in murder

Police in Eastern Uganda are holding a 38-year-old farmer in connection with the murder of his cousin following a dispute about the construction of a pit latrine.

Rogers Wepukhulu of Wabagayi village, Sibanga sub-county, allegedly hit Moses Wabuyi, a primary school teacher in Kayunga district, with a metal bar after a disagreement.

Wabuyi reportedly wanted to construct a pit-latrine at his home.

However, Wepukhulu refused the Fuso lorry truck delivering the bricks for the construction to pass through his garden.

Wabuyi forced his way through the garden and proceeded to report the matter to Sibanga Police Post.

When Wepukhulu learnt that Wabuyi had reported the matter to the Police, he hit him with a metal bar, killing him instantly.

Wabuyi’s relatives attacked Wepukhulu’s home and threatened to burn down his houses and kill his animals.

The Police are guarding the home to prevent any attack.

Eastern region Police spokesman Iddi Ssenkumbi said the suspects will be charged with murder.

Source: Moses Bikala, New Vision / allAfrica.com, 30 Dec 2009

Sudan, Khartoum: UNMIS supports sanitation improvement in leprosy colony

Leader of the community Abakr Abdallah, inspecting the newly constructed toilets. Photo: UNMIS

Leader of the community Abakr Abdallah, inspecting the newly constructed toilets. Photo: UNMIS

The lives of some 120 people affected by leprosy and other disease living in Mayo area in the outskirts of Khartoum are improved by the construction of 10 pit latrines that aim to provide much needed health and hygiene access. [On 16 June 2009] the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) and partners from the Leprosy Mission of Sudan and the State Ministry of Health inaugurated the sanitation project, the first one of its kind, since the affected population moved first to the area.

The new latrines of $23,000 cost, were funded by UNMIS through its Civil Military Cooperation (CIMIC) unit, and were constructed in little over a month’s time. “Over the years things have substantially improved for those living in the area. Homes were built, a water pump was put in and now with the help of UNMIS, 10 toilets have been added to the improvements”, UNMIS Military Chief of Staff, Col. Oivind Christensen said during the opening ceremony.

Source: UNMIS, 16 Jun 2009

Uganda, Kamuli District: sanitation campaign succeeds in raising latrine coverage

The pit-latrine coverage in Kamuli district has increased from 46% to 76% in the past two years, the district health department [Alex Mulindwa] said [...] Mulindwa said they launched a campaign to encourage people to construct pit-latrines in 2006.

He added that they used radios and patrols to mobilise the residents. The campaign was funded by the water department. Mulindwa said at the beginning of the campaign, some villages had no pit-latrines and residents would relieve themselves in the bushes.

“Bulungu village in Namwendwa sub-county had no pit-latrine and the residents had turned anthills into latrines,” Mulindwa noted. The district health educator, David Mbadhwe, said the district council passed a resolution under which a punishment of six months jail term was imposed on those who did not have pit-latrines. Mulindwa said they targeted having pit-latrine coverage of 90% by 2010.

Source: Tom Gwebayanga, New Vision / allAfrica.com, 18 May 2009

Uganda, Kampala: schools to get water and sanitation project

RUBAGA, Kawempe and Makindye divisions are to benefit from a sh2b [US$ 900,000) water and sanitation project that targets garbage collection and maintenance of hygiene in schools. The one-year project will target primary schools in the divisions. Already, sh100m [US$ 45,000) has been put aside for ventilated pit-latrines, hand-washing equipment and water tanks. [...] The Community Integrated Development Initiative will implement the project in collaboration with Kampala City Council.

The project coordinator, Teo Namata, said a survey in the city divisions showed that the sanitation in schools was appalling as the majority lacked latrines. “In one of the schools, we found 900 pupils and only two latrines for all the pupils,” Namata said. She said teachers and pupils will also be trained on how to operate the facilities given to the schools. The school project involves rain water harvesting programmes. Schools will also be given water tanks for tapping water. A total of 3,610 students and teachers are expected to benefit from the hygiene education component.

Source: Juliet Waiswa, New Vision / allAfrica.com, 12 May 2009

Uganda: Toilet Emptying Needs Investors

THERE are investment opportunities in emptying of pit latrines in Kampala and other urban areas, the World Bank‘s senior water and sanitation specialist has observed. “The bank carried out a study in Kampala and found that Kampala residents generate 800,000 litres of feaces per day (800 cubic meters) but the capacity to empty and dispose them of is only 230.000 litres,” Samuel Dawuna Mutono explained.

“This means more local people can invest in emptying pit latrines but the biggest challenge we discovered is that most of these toilets are not accessible, while some people are too poor to pay for the service,” he said. Mutono said only 8% of the country’s population is connected to the sewage system. “So how about the 92%? That is why the bank has supported this business linkage programme aimed at training members of the private emptiers association to improve their services.”

This was at the signing of a memorandum of understanding for a business linkage programme between the National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC), Uganda Investment Authority (UIA), Enterprise Uganda and the Private Emptiers Association at the Kampala Serena Hotel.

[...] “SMEs [small and medium enterprises] lack documented long-term visions, strategic business plans, adequate capitalisation, while others are involved in unscrupulous practices and have poor customer care,” Enterprise Uganda’s director of business advisory services, Rosemary Mutyabule said. “That is why the association will benefit much from the training,” Mutyabule said. 

Source: David Muwanga, New Vision / allAfrica.com, 25 May 2009

Botswana – BCP candidate targets pit latrines in Gaborone

Botswana Congress Party (BCP) parliamentary aspirant for Gaborone West South, Abbey Chengeta has vowed to tackle the problem of pit latrines in SHHA areas of the constituency.

Speaking at his launch over the weekend, Chengeta said that it was disheartening that the Gaborone City Council (GCC) and the Ministry of Wildlife, Environment and Tourism has failed to come up with a solution to phase out pit latrines in Gaborone West.

Chengeta said that Botsalo Ntuane the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Specially Elected MP, who is standing for elections in the area and the incumbent legislator Robert Molefhabagwe of the Botswana National Front (BNF) have failed to speak out about the problem of pit latrines in Parliament. “Ntuane and Molefhabangwe have to come to the people and explain what they have been doing since 2004,” said Chengeta. He added that pit latrines are a health hazard and must be phased out urgently.

Chengeta accused the ruling party of terrorising street vendors because it is ashamed of them.

“What is embarrassing about being a street vendor?,” he asked. He suggested that government should consider building stalls for street vendors because they contribute to the country’s economy as part of the informal sector.

The BCP secretary general, Taolo Lucas who was launching Chengeta and council candidates urged residents of Gaborone West South not to vote for Ntuane as BDP members are not allowed to speak freely against the government. “There is no use in voting a BDP MP,” said Lucas.

He said the BDP leadership has targeted Parliament and now it has its eyes on the media. He cited the controversial Media Practitioners’ Act. Lucas complained that the state TV station has been turned into a BDP campaign tool because every week, it features President Ian Khama and Vice President Mompati Merafhe launching party candidates.

Lucas applauded Chengeta for joining BCP after he retired from Bank of Botswana. He said Chengeta has made a big sacrifice compared to other top civil servants whom he labelled opportunists who join the BDP for person gain.

Lucas acknowledged that although the BCP did not command a lot of support in the constituency, the people must stand up and help it win elections. “If a party is able to manage itself well you have to stand up and help it,” he said.

Speaking at the rally, Gaborone Central MP Dumelang Sashando attacked BNF stating that the party was not fit to participate in the upcoming general elections because it is still busy with internal fighting.

Saleshando said that while the BCP was launching its candidates, the BNF is still waiting for the High Court to declare who the party’s election candidates are. He said the BNF history is basically about internal fighting. He said that unlike the BDP and BNF, his party has written policies that to be implemented once it assumes state power. He said the BDP is run through Khama’s four Ds while the BNF is still boasting about Pamphlet No.1 which talks about the Cold War.

Source – Mmegi Online

Toilet technology flipbook

WaterAid has produced a low cost toilet technology flipbook that lets you find out about the advantages and disadvantages of a range of latrine technologies. The resource is based on the 2004 publication called Low cost toilet options, which was put together by Social Marketing for Urban Sanitation, a research project funded by DFID, to help house owners in low-income urban communities choose an appropriate low-cost toilet. The drawings were produced by WEDC, Water Engineering Development Centre.

The flipbook allows you to mix and match the three toilet components: superstructure, slab and pit or vault. For each correct combination total costs are calculated. Both pit latrine and ecosan models are used. WaterAid plans to plans to update the flipbook.

Check out the flipbook here.

Uganda: Schools Without Pit Latrines Will Not Open for First Term

Education officials in Nyadri district have said schools with dilapidated pit-latrines will not open for the first term.The district inspector of schools, Flavia Droti, said six schools had so far been identified and they would only open after new latrines had been constructed. The first term starts on February 2, [2009].

Droti [...] said: “A report by inspectors of schools suggested that the state of pit latrines in most primary schools was wanting. Most of the latrines were in a dangerous condition and need to either be replaced or repaired.” Droti was responding to a statement by the district council chairman, Viga Kanon, calling for the situation to be rectified so that pupils report for next term on time.

[...] Kanon noted that Epa Primary School which has the highest enrolment, needs at least two new five-stance VIP latrines for both the pupils and teachers. He said the old pit-latrines would either collapse or sink because of the torrential rains that began in August [2008].

Source: Richard Adrama, New Vision / allAfrica.com, 25 Jan 2009

Kyrgyzstan: Safe and Sustainable – New Sanitation System

An international conference on Ecological Safety, held [in November 2008] in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, called attention to a dangerous sanitation issue by offering an inspiring and feasible solution.

The problem: international donors are still promoting pit latrines, says Dr. Claudia Wendland of Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF), but most families can’t afford to pay for safe emptying of the pits. In humid climates like those found in Central Asia, Caucasus and Eastern Europe, the latrines can become dangerous as a result, [and] often [pollute] groundwater.

[...] According to Sascha Gabizon, executive director of WCEF, dry or low-flush urine diverting toilets, combined with natural filtration ponds to purify grey water from sinks and showers, is a much safer sanitation system that can be implemented at a cost similar to that of the latrines.

The 200 participants of the conference were invited to visit 3 demonstration projects showing how wastewater from kitchens and bathrooms was efficiently cleaned using a “soil filter,” a sealed pond in which sand and plants clean the wastewater to achieve the quality of bathing water, The participants also visited 2 different types of dry urine diverting toilets. The cost of the toilets vary between 200 and 450 Euro, including a wash facility and light, this is much cheaper than having to build a flush-toilet and connecting to a sewage system [...]. The cost of the soil filter for 5 people amounts to about 950 euro, also less expensive than connecting to a sewage system.

Gabizon says the WCEF strategy is to first demonstrate the new sustainable sanitation systems “in a variety of small and large scale applications, from households to schools to entire villages.”

See also the WECF project profile of “Kyrgyzstan – Decentralised and sustainable wastewater management”

Source: Julia Levitt, Worldchanging, 21 Nov 2008