Coordinating the UN's work on water and sanitation

UN Environment: boat toilets help tackle environmental challenges in Kenya

Mbita, on the Kenyan side of Lake Victoria was once a vibrant fishing village, but it has lost its shine in recent years as a result of deforestation, habitat degradation due to sand mining, overfishing, and poor waste management.

Most of the rural population still do not have latrines within their homes, which means that open defecation is common. In addition, many fishermen are working at night and far from the shore and toilets. To address these human waste challenges, a local grassroots organization has introduced the arborloo and the portable boat toilet.

An arborloo is a temporary, shallow, dry composting pit latrine constructed of locally available, cheap materials. Once the arborloo is full, the temporary structure is easily moved to another location and a tree planted in the well-manured hole. This treats faeces as a resource rather than a waste product. The latrine has led to reduced open defecation, fewer water-borne diseases, and encouraged people to plant trees in their homes.

Portable boat toilets are another innovation. The human waste collected is emptied into a bio-gas digester, energy from which is being used to provide lighting.

Read the full story by UNEP here.