A young Fresh Life Toilet customer in Mukuru, Nairobi

A young Fresh Life Toilet customer in Mukuru, Nairobi

As the Millennium Development Goals approach their 2015 expiration date, the definition of sanitation has become an increasingly hot topic. The world has not yet achieved MDG 7c: halving the proportion of people without access to sanitation. In fact, it hasn’t even come close yet.

According to the UN, 2.5 billion people lack access to proper toilet facilities. Yet, according to researchers at the Water Institute at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, that number is a drop in the bucket -it is actually 4.1 billion people.

Why the difference? The UN measures access to the toilet and how well it protects the user from contact with waste. UNC researchers also considered whether or not the waste was treated, and how that waste affected the community.

This is not just semantics. Especially on World Water Day, it’s a huge acknowledgement that where the waste goes – mostly into waterways and into the water table – is just as important as how people go to the toilet.

At Sanergy, we think about the waste challenge every single day and we plan for it. Our Fresh Life Toilet is designed to ensure that no waste ever goes into the natural environment. First of all, the Fresh Life Toilet is waterless. This means that the waste cannot be removed in the simplest of ways: flushing it into nearby waterways.

Instead, waste is collected in 30L cartridges, which are housed in retaining boxes, which are held in place by concrete support. There’s no chance for the waste to leach into the soil and there’s no chance for the high water table to flood our toilets during the rainy season.

Sanergy's FreshLife Frontline Team transporting Fresh Life Toilet cartridges in Mukuru, Nairobi

Sanergy’s FreshLife Frontline Team transporting Fresh Life Toilet cartridges                          in Mukuru, Nairobi

Finally, the Fresh Life Frontline – our Waste Management Team – wearing professional uniforms and equipment visits each Fresh Life Toilet daily, sealing the containers with lids, and transporting the full containers by handcart out of the community and to our waste processing facility. There is no chance for the waste to go back into the waterways. The Freshlife Frontline is also protected too through their equipment and training.

On World Water Day, as we come together to support the fight for clean water, let’s also remember to fight to end what causes so much of the dirty water: waste not being disposed of and treated properly.