Eco-toilets and solar lamps: A Lagos slum goes green | Global Ideas | DW | 29.12.2020

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Global Ideas

Eco-toilets and solar lamps: A Lagos slum goes green

In Nigeria’s largest city, living without clean water, electricity and sanitation is a reality for millions. Can living conditions be improved while reducing carbon emissions?

Nigeria: Universal toilet access  

Project goal: Under the Paris Agreement, nine African megacities are to receive support to cut emissions and develop long-term climate action plans. In Lagos, C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group is working with Justice & Empowerment Initiatives (JEI) and the Nigerian Slum/Informal Settlement Federation to include slums in these plans. They have long strived for better living conditions for slum residents, working to provide sewage and energy systems. Now, they are also collaborating to gather data to help shape the Nigerian capital’s climate action plan. 

Project duration: The four-year project will conclude in June 2021

Project funding: The German Environment Ministry is supporting the project with 3.7 million euro ($4.5 million) via its International Climate Initiative

Poverty and a lack of basic services make life a struggle for many families living in the Lagos area of Ago Egun Bariga. Residents Kehinde Samuel and her four children don’t have access to electricity or gas. When they need power, they use generators, which release emissions that are damaging to both their health and the climate.  

One of the challenges in improving access to basic services is that city authorities lack insight into how residents are using fuel and what is driving their choices. To tackle this, the C40 project conducted a survey and found the main reasons people were not using cleaner energy sources was a lack of information and financial resources.

Artist Gani Taiwo in front of a bio-fill toilet designed by him

Artist Gani Taiwo is part of the campaign that aims to sensitize communities to use the bio-fill toilet

That’s why the Justice and Empowerment Initiatives, a local grassroots organization, is working in cooperation with C40 to teach people how to build solar panels and solar streetlamps. 

Dirty water in the slum, due to a lack of proper sanitation services, poses another big urban development challenge and health risk for residents. The project is also supporting the creation of bio-fill toilets, which function as above-ground compositing systems. 

A film by Fred Muvunyi 

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