Sanitation: It isn’t something that most people enjoy thinking or talking about. But it’s a grave and urgent global challenge. Lack of adequate human waste management can expose communities to a wide variety of dangerous diseases, including cholera, diarrhoea, dysentery, hepatitis A, typhoid, polio, intestinal worms, schistosomiasis and trachoma. Unsatisfactory sanitation conditions cause an estimated 280,000 diarrhoeal deaths per year. That’s equivalent to 767 deaths every day, 32 every hour or one every two minutes. The time has come to stop ignoring this problem and take action.
Unfortunately, though global access to toilets is increasing, safe management of human waste remains a problem. Around 2.7 billion people – 35 percent of the world’s population – use “on-site sanitation” systems, which include pit latrines and septic tanks, and are not connected to sewer systems. When they become full, they need to be emptied for households to have continued access to a toilet.
That’s the challenge in Kigali, Rwanda, a city with over 1 million people, but no sewer system. When residents’ septic tanks and pit latrines fill up, they need to be emptied – and that’s where Pit Vidura comes in. The company aims to provide the missing link between toilets and safe disposal treatment. Our work focuses on how to safely empty, transport and dispose of waste from full on-site sanitation systems in Kigali. Specifically, we focus on how to do this inclusively for people who can’t afford services and/or live in hard-to-reach areas.
Since 2016, Pit Vidura has been offering safe, hygienic pit latrine and septic tank emptying services for households in the city. While trucking services exist to empty septic tanks in its more affluent areas, Pit Vidura is the only service working in low-income areas and protecting the public and environmental health of these communities by separating them from their waste.