Full circle: Kenyan city converts human waste into fuel

By Lucía Blanco Gracia

Nakuru, Kenya, Jul 30 (EFE).- Cooking up some lunch over a hot stove of burning human excrement might sound unappetizing, but in the Kenyan city of Nakuru, this alternative fuel source is reducing contamination and providing jobs.

The product, dubbed Makaa Dotcom, has brought fuel production full circle by collecting human waste and turning it into charcoal to heat stove-ovens in homes and restaurants, and to keep livestock warm.

Just a third of the population of Nakuru, the fourth largest urban center in Kenya, located in the Rift Valley to the northwest of the capital Nairobi, is connected to the sewage system, according to the city’s water management company NAWASSCO, which produces Makaa Dotcom charcoal.

The rest, and especially those living in poorer neighborhoods, use latrines that must be emptied manually.

Workers paid to remove the human waste from the pits would often get rid of it semi-clandestinely under the cover of darkness into drains or even the rivers flowing into Lake Nakuru.

“We had the manual pit-emptiers (…) we don’t know where they used to dump the human waste,” John Irungu, the administrator of the water treatment plant in Nakuru, tells Efe.

“But now we have worked with them collaboratively, and now the operation legally has been licensed. We have taught them how to use the proper way of exhausting the pit latrines, the proper containment of sludge and proper delivery at the treatment plants.”

The practice of dumping human waste, a threat to both human health and the environment, began to change in 2018 when, after five years of research, Makaa Dotcom was launched to provide a sustainable system of waste removal.

Then came the next stage of the business plan: how to make poop profitable.

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