Pit-Toilets and It’s Associated Problems

A pit toilet is also known as a pit latrine, it is a hole through which human faeces (discharge from the bowels) are passed into an excavated earth underneath the latrine. This is the old way of discharging faeces (also referred to as shit) before the advent of technology and the introduction of modern toilet facilities.

Latrine as mostly called is predominant in rural communities and undeveloped neighbourhoods particularly densely populated urban parts of Nigeria where many tenement houses are erected and let out to low-income earners.

The cost of constructing a pit toilet is relatively low compared to the modern facilities, in the rural area latrines are built by excavating the earth while using bamboo and leaves to demarcate and conceal the toilet. In an urban setting, apart from excavating the earth, the surface is well plastered with cement screed and paved to allow for balance during use, it is also concealed with block walls with wooden doors for ease of access.  

Problems Associated With the Use of Pit Toilet Comprises;

  1. Inconvenience: To use latrine, one has to squat since the hole is on the floor which does not allow one to sit. The implication of this is that anyone using a latrine will have to position himself in a comfortable position and keep adjusting due to the stress on the muscles. There is a high chance of sweating while defecating.
  2. Unhealthy: Users of the latrine often fall ill from inhaling fumes and bad odour coming out from the pit hole. Odor from the decaying faeces of several people in the compound can make one throw up while defecating and it’s harmful to one’s health.
  3. Spread of Disease: The majority of tenants of tenement houses are trapped with constant food poisoning and dysentery when house flies and cockroaches from the latrine hole enter their houses and eject digestive enzymes or perch on their food.
  4. Possible Collapse: The consistent use of pit latrines without corresponding checks or maintenance can collapse the pit, the weight from users could weaken the edges where its balance lies, hence gradually wearing off which is followed by the eventual collapse.
  5. Not Hygienic for Pregnant Women: Pregnant women are not encouraged to use pit latrines to forestall contracting infections that could affect their health and that of their unborn babies.
  6. Contaminates Well Water: Fecal contamination of well water is rampant in unplanned tenement houses, this is because a lot of latrine walls are not usually plastered hence easy penetration of feces across other parts of the earth where it is sited. When this happens the shallow well from where water is sourced is permanently abandoned to avoid the spread of disease. 

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