Aidex Voices

Butyl Products Ltd. is a UK-based engineering company specialising in the design, development and manufacture of liquid containment applications. They have been working with global aid agencies, international relief agencies and national governments since 1965, responding to emergency/humanitarian aid situations and as part of planned infrastructure development projects. 

Namisu Children’s Village in Blantyre, Malawi, run by UK charity Aquaid Lifeline, is home to orphaned children and the staff who care for them. This facility includes a school which not only educates the resident orphans who have no family at all, but also more than 500 other orphans living in neighbouring communities. The village faced two major difficulties; the safe disposal of human waste and the use of wood fuel for cooking.

Research has shown that more than 50% of premature deaths among children under 5 are due to pneumonia caused by soot inhaled from household air pollution. And while the constant inhalation of wood smoke may result in respiratory complications, the improper disposal of human waste also poses sanitation problems.

To tackle both these challenges, our Flexigester Integrated Faecal Treatment System was installed at the orphanage, as part of a programme financed by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC & RCS) evaluating different sanitation treatments.

This system is connected to new pour-flush toilets and functions by collecting the waste material through special pipes for further processing. The various types of waste processed include human sewage, animal manure and kitchen waste. This system is designed to break down waste into biogas under anaerobic conditions (in the absence of oxygen).

The new system means that children and staff use pour-flush toilets instead of pit latrines, resulting in improved sanitation. As Angus Gaisford, the General Manager of Aquaid in Malawi, pointed out, there have been no problems with odors or flies in the toilets since the Flexigester was installed.

In addition, biogas produced during the waste transformation process can be used as a substitute of wood and charcoal, which has a positive impact on health and saves money. Our system also produces a nutrient-rich liquor which can be used on cultivated land as a biofertiliser to enrich the nutrients and organic matter in the soil.