The court order directing the Transport Secretary to set up and chair a team that will formulate policy for the provision of sanitation facilities along highways is a welcome move and offers relief for travellers as well as property owners.
For long, highway users have had to contend with the indignity of relieving themselves in bushes much to the chagrin of landowners, whose parcels of land have been rendered unusable.
The only available facilities are found in the few eateries and not all these are open to the public, and even where they are, the levels of hygiene and sanitation are far from ideal, posing a public health hazard.
Lack of sanitation facilities along highways is an assault on public health as it exposes citizens to diseases such as cholera, typhoid and dysentery, whose cost of treatment has to be borne by the public, yet all these are preventable conditions.
The team tasked with providing the toilets and other sanitation facilities along the highways includes representatives from the council of governors (COG), Kenya National Highways Authority, Kenya Rural Roads Authority and Kenya Urban Roads Authority.
The inclusion of county governments will ensure that they are involved in the operations as well. Furthermore, they will create both investment and jobs opportunities besides improving traveller experience.
The Constitutions provides for the citizens to be afforded a clean and healthy environment and reasonable standards of sanitation. Kenya must step up and align the country’s sanitation with United Nations goal. It did not have to take a court order to make this happen.