From Waste to Health and Wealth
Providing safe sanitation in the developing world is still a major hurdle to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with 61% of the global population lacking safely managed sanitation services, and hence not resilient to future changes. In low income countries, people’s sanitation needs are often served by onsite sanitation, with 5 billion people expected to be served by onsite sanitation by 2030. The existing forms of onsite sanitation such as pit latrines lack resilience to future shocks, as they are often prone to flooding, are difficult to empty in areas with a high water table and the practice of filling in a latrine and digging a new one becomes less viable with increasing urbanization. Whereas aspirations for improved sanitation from low income countries focus on sewer systems, the combination of high capital expense, high operational cost, high demand for water and installation difficulties in dense urban areas make this an unviable option for the foreseeable future. Thus, the insufficiency of both existing onsite and sewer based systems raises the need for new resilient ways of managing waste in low income cities. Circular Economy (CE) models, actively using the nutrient or energy value of waste, are being implemented in sanitation as a way of shifting the paradigm of waste management to resource production. They focus on the whole sanitation chain which has a positive environmental and health impact, unlike other systems (including sewers) where waste is often discharged untreated into the environment.
Meru University of Science and Technology (MUST) has developed an inbuilt-self-sustaining human waste management system using the Black Soldier Fly (BSF) that converts the wastes into commercially viable products through ecologically and environmentally friendly interventions supported by innovative research and technology. MUST is host to a bio-resource based approach to sanitation listed by UN-Habitat as a Top 20 Innovative Solution in September 2019.
MUST hosted a farmer’s day at the University’s Sanitation Research Institute (SRI). SRI is a Centre dedicated to research in Sanitation. The event aimed at disseminating research findings to the stakeholders for possible adoption and application, introducing the circular economy approach for environmental management, demonstrating innovative ways of converting organic waste and wealth, demonstrating cost-effective poultry rearing approach as well as demonstrating best poultry rearing practices. The event was Officially opened by the Vice-Chancellor Prof. Romanus Odhiambo. In his speech the Vice-Chancellor recognized the important role of Universities in research such as addressing existing and emerging challenges. He also appreciated the farmers citing that they are the key stakeholders as consumers of the research findings. Prof. Odhiambo emphasized on MUST’s dedication and contribution to research including putting in place a research policy as well as the construction of an Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre. The Vice-Chancellor encouraged the farmers to adopt resource recovery approach for improved livelihood and environmental sustainability.
Here are more moments captured during the Farmer’s Open day