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With an estimated 5 million pit latrines in South Africa, the time has come to urgently address the issue of poor sanitation, says Sanitech, a provider of cleaning and hygiene services. Not only is there a health risk associated with pit latrines, there have been a number of tragic deaths as a result of children falling into the latrines at schools.

Sanitech introduces pit latrine retrofit solutionPlain pit and bucket latrines are not allowed at schools in terms of the government’s norms and standards document. Despite this, there are still over 4 000 schools across the country that only have plain pit latrines as toilets. More than 30 schools in the Eastern Cape have no ablution facilities whatsoever.

Sanitech has ntroduced a solution to this problem. In development for around two years, Sanitech’s Khusela (DST) Dry Sanitation Toilets can be retrofitted to an existing pit latrine. Not only do they prevent children from falling in to the pits, they prevent the spread of disease, are serviceable and protect the environment from contamination.

Robert Erasmus, Managing Director of Sanitech explains that the company’s R&D department was briefed to find a solution to the current pit latrines. “Their mandate was simple,” he says. “Firstly, develop a product that protects our children from harm and the risk of falling into an open pit.

Secondly, develop a product that ensures that the user has a dignified experience when using the facility. The smell and sight of the waste must be eliminated. Thirdly, make sure that there is no more direct exposure to the raw waste and the health risks associated with this.”

What makes Sanitech’s Khusela (DST) Dry Sanitation Toilets unique is a rotating bowl that ensures that not only is it impossible for a child to fall through, but it covers the waste and prevents the smell of the waste permeating upwards into the unit. A specially developed containment system prevents the waste from leaching into underground water and the waste can be pumped out, ensuring that the pit does not have to be rebuilt on another site when it is full.

Over 150 of the toilets have been installed since their general availability on the market, and Erasmus says the feedback from the communities has been positive. “Sanitech’s Khusela (DST) Dry Sanitation Toilet can be retrofitted to the current VIP pit latrines and is an improved solution, costing a fraction of what a completely new solution would cost,” he concludes.

Image credit: http://www.sanitech.co.za/News/View-Article/ArticleId/12/Sanitech-s-Khusela-DST-Dry-Sanitation-Toilet-1

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