As urban populations around the world swell, one of the problems that urgently needs to be addressed is wastewater management. Lucy Mutinda is offering Kenyan businesses and individuals a smart solution.
When DW met Lucy Mutinda a few years ago, she was at the start of an environmental career. Fast forward to 2016, and she is a fully-fledged eco entrepreneur helping businesses in Kenya to recycle waste water.
DW: What is the environmental situation like in your native Kenya?
Lucy Mutinda: We have had a lot of pollution and waste as a result of the increased population, industrial activities and modern way of life, so although the environment is naturally good, we have been getting it polluted and messing it up.
That calls for us to have better practices to make sure we manage our modern way of living to ensure we don’t damage our naturally beautiful environment.
If you look at the cities, the population is so high, but wastewater management systems have not been upgraded to match the increasing population. Solid waste management is also a challenge, so those are areas to explore and implement new sustainable strategies.
And that is the field you are working in?
Exactly. So, I'm contributing to each by focusing on the on-site wastewater recycling, because although the cities are growing really fast, we don't have municipal sewers that have been expanded in keeping with the urban growth rate.
What people have to learn, is to manage their own waste as they build their houses. I provide on-site wastewater recycling where instead of the sewage being dumped at a dump, or having to call exhauster trucks to come and empty it, I provide a machine that recycles it on-site and you can reuse the clean water for your garden, to flush the toilet or to keep the area clean.
And it's your own company? You are a business woman now?
Oh yes, I'm a techpreneur or is it an engpreneur? Two and a half years ago, I founded EcoCycle. I called it EcoCycle because eco is friendly, reusing, recycling, and because I believe our resources should be used in a cyclic manner so we don’t waste anything.
EcoCycle is now two and a half years old and we have managed to roll over more than fifty projects of on-site recycling systems for office blocks, hotels, homes and institutions. Clients are very happy that they are saving on water bills and conserving their environment.
This interview was conducted by Grit Hofmann and has been condensed and edited for clarity.