NewsEast & Horn AfricaHuman waste becomes fuel for Kenya's urban poor


Posted on Monday, 07 August 2017 15:58

Human waste becomes fuel for Kenya's urban poor

By Reuters

 In this photo from December 2011, a street-trader measures a portion of cooked rice and beans for sale to a customer in Nairobi, Kenya.Photo: Ben Curtis/AP/SIPAA company in Kenya is manufacturing briquettes from human waste and sawdust collected around Nakuru, a town in the Rift Valley region. 


It's a dirty job but somebody's got to do it.

Workers in Nakuru, northwest of Nairobi, empty a truck load of human faeces onto drying beds.

The waste is the main material used at this processing site to make these briquettes which locals use to cook and for heating.

 It's left out to dry, then treated in a kiln and carbonised with sawdust at 300 degrees Celsius - a process those behind the project say removes harmful pathogens and, of course, the foul smell.

Protect the environment and improve sanitation

Molasses is added as a binder, before the mixture is transformed into balls ready for sale at around 50 US cents a kilo.

As well as providing fuel, the project also aims to protect the environment and improve sanitation, especially in poor parts of the town.

Only 1 in 4 Nakuru residents are connected to the town's sewerage system, and waste is often dumped in storm drains and rivers, or buried in low-income areas.

Swahili trader, Grace Waka says: "It doesn't have an odour, it cooks well, the fire burns well, You are able to cook fast and the briquettes burn for long."

The company plans to improve efficiency of its plant, as demand for the briquettes is growing.

And they're also helping to dispose of the large quantities of human waste generated each day.

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