OMUTHIYA – The business community of Omuthiya operating in the town’s sandwiched informal area is irked by actions of a Chinese businessman, Zhou Jianbin, who stands accused of using human faeces as manure for his backyard garden.
The community claims this has been happening for a very long time despite having already informed Zhou to stop this practice. He operates a retail store at Ondado Iwa, where he had set up a garden. The human faeces Zhou is using is his own – he uses open bucket containers to relieve himself whenever nature calls, although there is a pit latrine.
When this reporter visited the shop, there was a half-full 20-litre container of urine and faeces being kept near the pit latrine. Zhou did also not shy way from showing this reporter another container he uses.
The odour from the container was so strong that one had to cover one’s nose with a cloth. Business associates who are in close proximity described the situation as unbearable as the strong odour infiltrates the atmosphere.
“I normally dispose of this waste in the open air, I do not use it for the plants, No!” he said, partly blaming the locals for the bad smell, saying, “Look around, everyone is urinating anywhere, so you cannot say it’s only my things that is stinking.” This version was however disputed by his female employee who said “he is just trying to cover himself.”
Meanwhile, community activist Moses Amukoto who spoke on behalf of the society blamed the town council for Zhou’s prolonged actions.
“I have brought up this matter long before and today to the town council’s attention but nothing has been happening. To be honest,when this guy starts watering the plants with such mix, the whole atmosphere becomes infiltrated to such an extent that one cannot even try to eat something in the open. I blame this on town council,” said Amukoto rhetorically.
In contrast, the town council’s manager of technical services, planning and environment, Simon Nghuulondo, said the unfolding situation was new to him and to the entire council, but promised to launch an investigation.
“This is new to us. We will convene a meeting with the colleagues to see what can be done. However, the area in which he operates is not yet formalised pending the installation of sewerage services, hence all those operating there have been allowed to use the pit latrine in the absence of such,” said Nghuulondo, adding that it is one of the prerequisites for one to get a good standing certificate.
Asked what measures can be taken, Nghuulondo said the council can suspend the good standing certificate which will lead to business closure. “I do not know why he is doing that, and thank you for informing us. Such action will be taken if he does not comply,” he reaffirmed.