Use modern latrines to secure the groundwater

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Use modern latrines to secure the groundwater


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  • According to the 2019 Kenya National Bureau of Statistics census, only 54 percent of Nairobi’s 1.5 million households are connected to the main sewer and the rest use septic tanks, pit or bucket latrines for the disposal of human waste.
  • Things are even worse in the cities of Mombasa and Nakuru, where over 80 percent of residents are served by on-site sanitation facilities.
  • In Mombasa City, only 16.6 percent of the more than 376,000 households are connected to the main sewer system.

The large number of pit latrines and septic tanks used in towns and cities across the country to dispose of human waste is a ticking time bomb likely to explode in the next few years, exposing disease and water to millions of families who drink from boreholes and wells becomes poverty.

According to the 2019 Kenya National Bureau of Statistics census, only 54 percent of Nairobi’s 1.5 million households are connected to the main sewer and the rest use septic tanks, pit or bucket latrines for the disposal of human waste.

Things are even worse in the cities of Mombasa and Nakuru, where over 80 percent of residents are served by on-site sanitation facilities. In Mombasa City, only 16.6 percent of the more than 376,000 households are connected to the main sewer system.

Studies show that the increasing frequency of extreme rainfall events as a result of climate change is increasing the leakage of chemical and microbial pollutants from pit latrines, septic tanks and landfills into groundwater.

Groundwater is a natural resource that occurs below the earth’s surface in pore spaces in the soil and is stored in aquifers, bodies of permeable rock – such as gravel or sand.

intrusion of sea water

Aside from pit latrines and septic tanks, the United Nations also warns that rising seawater due to increased temperatures is likely to trigger seawater intrusion into coastal aquifers in the coastal region.

The WHO guidelines on salt in drinking water – found mainly in borehole water – state that salt in excess or over two grams per day can be harmful.

Kenya has been accused of being lax in implementing groundwater management policies and laws.

The government must protect the quality of groundwater by ensuring that latrines are connected to the public sewage system and encouraging the introduction of toilets that have little impact on the environment and groundwater.

Some of these toilets are the vented improved pit latrine, the composting toilet, the dry toilet with urine diversion, or the cartridge-based toilets.

About Sonia Martinez

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