Toilets are easily the most used facility in the world. Everybody uses the toilet at least once a day, either to defecate or to urinate. Toilets aid in the proper disposal of human waste, prevent contamination of the environment and reduce the risk of people getting infected with diseases. So, toilets can be found wherever people are, from offices and trains to houses and markets. In this article, we’ll be discussing the various types of toilets that are common in Nigeria. Keep on reading to find out what they are.
The types of toilet in Nigeria would be discussed below:
The water closet is a widely used type of toilet in Nigeria. It is a fixed ceramic bowl that collects urine and faeces deposited by a user. The bowl is designed to carry the weight of a person when defecating. At the down part of the ceramic bowl, usually the back, a drain is connected, which carries effluents into a septic tank. Water closets also have cisterns connected to the “up” side of the bowl, which enables rapid filling with water to empty effluents when the flush valves are operated. For water closets without cisterns, effluents are flushed by manually pouring water into the bowl.
In Nigeria, millions of households have water closets in their homes. Also, schools, churches, offices, public buildings, gyms, hospitals, and a whole lot of other types of buildings use this type of toilet.
Pit latrine, or pit toilet as often referred to, is widely used across Nigeria, especially in rural areas. This type of toilet is designed to collect human waste (faeces) in a hole in the ground. Generally, pit latrines are made up of three major parts – a hole in the ground, a concrete slab or floor with a small hole and a shelter. A lid may be used to cover up the small hole when the toilet is not in use.
To use a pit latrine, an individual would have to squat with the buttocks positioned directly over the hole, however, some pit latrines have toilet seats for user comfort. Some pit latrines use water while others don’t. Pit latrines are a cheap form of basic sanitation and a great alternative to open defecation. They can be found in schools, dwelling houses, public compounds, etc.
This is a basic form of dry toilet that’s commonly used by low-income households who don’t have access to improved sanitation. A bucket toilet, as the name implies, involves the use of a pail (bucket) to collect human waste (urine and faeces). Because excreta collected in a bucket would give off an offensive odour, the bucket is usually situated in an outhouse structure. Some households, however, put the bucket in their dwelling spaces.
To make it easier for excreta to be disposed of from the bucket, users place some dry material in the base such as sawdust, straw, leaves, or newspaper. Lids are used to cover the buckets when not in use. Households who use bucket toilets dispose of the content when it’s full or when it begins to emit an excessive foul odour. The waste may be buried or used as compost manure.
In some parts of the country, particularly slums, where there is a lack of proper toilet facilities for people to use, it is common practice for plastic bags to be used to collect excreta. Sometimes, people with toilets outside their dwelling houses may opt for defecation in plastic bags at night. After an individual might have filled up a plastic bag with faeces, it is tied and discarded in ditches, bushes, or the roadside.
Vacuum toilets are usually found on trains, aircraft and ships with plumping. Vacuum toilets use little to no water at all and are usually connected to a portable collection chamber or vacuum sewer system. Passengers on these aforementioned modes of transportation make use of this type of toilet while in transit.
In Nigeria, especially in riverine areas, some people live in shanties set up on platforms above water bodies. Makoko town in Lagos State is one such place that has people residing on platforms built on water. Since residents don’t have quick access to land or a connection to a sewer system, floating toilets are set up on platforms above the water. In this type of toilet, human effluents are discharged directly into the water.
This practice is unhealthy and poses great environmental and health threats to humans, the environment, and aquatic life.
Public toilets are common in towns and cities around Nigeria. They are usually small buildings that contain sanitation facilities such as flush toilets and are available to be used by the general public. Usually, public toilets are separated into male and female sections, however, some are unisex. They can be found in malls, universities, along the road, markets, bus stations, public parks, stadiums etc. People may have to pay some money to have access to public toilets.
Bushes, Forests & Other Open Spaces
Although bushes, forests, canals, ditches and other open spaces aren’t sanitation infrastructure, some people in Nigeria still defecate outside rather than in the toilet. According to the 2021 Water, Sanitation and Hygiene National Outcome Routine Mapping III Report, 48 million Nigerians still practice open defecation. It may be that sanitation infrastructure is absent, too many people using a toilet, or due to an uncomfortable or unsafe toilet, and so on. Regardless of the reasons for open defecation, this practice negatively impacts the public health of the community. Open defecation pollutes the environment and can lead to lots of health problems and diseases.
With over 48 million Nigerians practising open defecation, and many more without access to proper toilets, our environment is becoming increasingly contaminated with waste from infected persons. This, in turn, contributes to the spread of disease that can cause widespread illness and death. To close this glaring gap, the Government of Nigeria and NGOs such as WaterAid Nigeria, ICIR Nigeria and UNICEF, have several interventions in place to provide proper sanitation facilities to those who lack toilets.