Cowdray Park residents get flush toilets

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Vusumuzi Dube, Municipal Reporter
RESIDENTS in Cowdray Park in Bulawayo, who had resorted to the use of Blair toilets as the city council was yet to provide sewer reticulation in the suburb will finally have flush toilets after a local company came up with a system to convert the toilets into flush toilets.

The company, Santinton Contractors, working with a South African partner, Envirosan Sanitation Solutions, which has done a number of projects in the slum areas of South Africa, completed the installation of three demonstration units in the suburb with residents expressing confidence that this would bring a solution to their long standing sanitation crisis.

In an interview on the sidelines of a tour of the demonstration units last week, Santinton Contractors project director, Mr Edwin Mhlaba said they had chosen Cowdray Park — Hlalani Kuhle as it is one of the areas that had long standing problems with water and sewer reticulation.

He said the system was such that people could operate it both manually and automatically and further used just two litres of water per flush which he said would further help save water.

“The strategy is to look at areas without reliable water or sewer services, like here in Cowdray Park where people are relying on the Blair toilet system if not open defecation. We take those Blair toilets and actually renovate them fitting in a flushing system and septic tanks that can go for 12 years without being emptied. The Eaziflush toilet will further help the council with its water conservation goal.

“The Installation of new Eaziflush toilets will save both the council (treatment chemicals) and residents in money and reduced potable water usage on flushing, thereby allowing the excess water saved to be automatically distributed to other areas, thereby allowing areas such Cowdray Park which have lived without proper water supply to have the resource,” said Mr Mhlaba.

He said the company’s goal is sustainability, improving residents’ living conditions, health, human dignity, economic productivity and look at the environment in poor urban and peri-urban areas through an integrated partnership approach to sanitation

“In areas like Cowdray Park and Mbundane where there is no water, Eaziflush will assist these residents avoid disease outbreaks and reduce water pollution as it does not make sense to see the donors come to the fore and spend millions of dollars in aid and medicines whereas we can prevent such things from occurring in the first place,” said Mr Mhlaba.

He said they hoped to spread the system to the rural areas as this was a lasting solution to the country’s sanitation problems.
Cowdray Park Councillor, Collet Ndhlovu said when implemented the system will go a long way in assisting the suburb fight the problem of sanitation.

He said the problem of water and sewer reticulation in the suburb had gone on for too long hence there was a need for the local authority to embrace such strategies as they gave residents a lasting solution outside the connection of sewer.

One of the lucky residents who had her Blair toilet converted into a flush toilet, Mrs Georgina Chipango, said they had initially been sceptical of the project because a lot of people and companies had previously offered to assist them but in reality they would only be interested in fleecing them.