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Scientist who changes poop into clean water

Grace Wachira @yaagrace

Daniel Wanjuki had always had a knack for matters science and it is not surprising that when he joined Egerton University he pursued a degree in bio-chemistry. “I majored in botany and zoology because of the keen interest I had in science. I got a job as a market researcher, ” he says.

He worked for 10 years before he left to start a business. “I was bored and had already done my part in the marketing field,” he says. Between 2003 and 2005 Wanjuki joined the Simu ya Jamii wave. “It was great, but when mobile phones came I had to find something else to do,” he says.

His keen interest for the environment combined with his love for science drove him to start Eco Save Limited. “In Kitengela where I lived, we faced a waste management crisis so I wanted to help residents. I approached the landlord for the premise my office was based at after noticing that he was emptying his sewer at least twice a month. I made a proposition to him: I would use bacteria to end the tedious process of emptying sewers.

He accepted,” he says. His strategy was simple. He recalled that in school he was taught that there is a bacterium that can completely break down waste into water, nitrogen and carbon dioxide by digesting all organic materials and nutrients such as calcium, potassium and phosphorus and minerals are left behind. Wanjuki says. He had promised to buy his landlord an exhaust tank if the process did not work.

“It’s been years now and I am yet to buy him the tank. It worked and as a result, I gathered enough confidence to share the idea and now I have more clients,” he says. Other landlords and homeowners use his product. “Landlords who own flats have come to us.

You find that the water, once collected is used for utility purposes,” he says. The water can be used to water plants, to clean the compound, fight fire, wash cars as well as used to flush toilets. The result has been successful. Slaughter and poultry houses are among their clients.

The water is safe enough for drinking, but people have not been receptive to the idea. “The water is not only clear, it is also odourless. It does a lot of good to the environment and saves on the costs incurred because having an exhaust tank to clear a septic every time is expensive,” he explains.

The bacteria when introduced, needs little space. “The original digesters use a lot of space. Optionally, you can build a smaller pit because they take up much lesser space and are much efficient. Machinery and electricity is saved. It is a facultative bacteria, meaning it can work without aerobic conditions and still get the job done,” he says.

Daniel’s Eco Save consults for the National Environmental Management Authority (Nema) as well as other countries. “We have graced a number of conferences in Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and Tanzania and we work together on some projects that deal with waste management.

Between 2008 and 2010, Eco Save worked with the late John Michuki when he was cleaning up slaughterhouses. The odourless product (water) goes a long way also in eliminating flies thus expunging disease. “When I get positive feedback from my clients and the referrals, it keeps me going and that way, I know I am doing our environment a lot of good,” he concludes.

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