WASH articles from Environment & Urbanization

IIED’s Environment and Urbanization is a key journal for urban WASH studies. Below are links to the abstracts for the latest WASH-related articles.


Health and water quality benefits of alternative sewerage systems in Metro Manila, Philippines.
This paper presents results of a household survey on the current sanitation and sewerage conditions in Metro Manila. The survey included a choice, measured in terms of the marginal willingness to pay (MWTP), between two alternative domestic wastewater treatment systems: 1) a sewerage system connecting individual households to a treatment plant through sewer lines; and 2) a combined drainage–sewerage system in which wastewater effluent flows with rainwater through flood canals and is intercepted for treatment only at a certain point in the waterway. With the second, the health improvement effect may be limited, but the cost can be significantly lower. The finding in favour of the combined drainage–sewerage system lends some support to this new approach in municipal wastewater treatment, which some other increasingly congested metropolises in Asian countries are likewise adopting, as an alternative to the more costly individual household sewer connections.

Bathing without water, and other stories of everyday hygiene practices and risk perception in urban low-income areas: the case of Lilongwe, Malawi.
Hygiene plays a key role in tipping the balance towards reduction of diarrhoeal and other infectious diseases. Yet it has often been overlooked, positioned as a “supporting rider” of water supply and sanitation services, or narrowly understood as handwashing. By focusing on handwashing infrastructure as proposed for the monitoring of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6, development actors might miss the opportunity of capturing hygiene practices that are socially embedded and can act as a catalyst for change and risk reduction. We develop this argument by presenting an in-depth examination of hygiene practices in a low-income neighbourhood of Lilongwe, Malawi. Despite the high poverty levels and the constant water shortages in the area, a number of water-intensive hygiene practices are consistently carried out, proving that hygiene is central to residents’ everyday lives. Development projects should start by identifying these practices and by reflecting on the extent that these already work or can be made to work for reducing health-related risks.

Beyond the networked city: situated practices of citizenship and grassroots agency in water infrastructure provision in the Chamazi settlement, Dar es Salaam.
This paper problematizes the liberal ideal of citizenship that, it is argued, limits active participation of poor communities in decision-making around basic urban infrastructure services and enjoyment of their citizenship rights. In place of liberal citizenship, the paper argues in favour of newly emerging forms of citizenship within participatory spheres that enhance access of the poor to urban services through direct participation aimed at socially equitable outcomes. Using the case of the Chamazi community water infrastructure initiative in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, this paper demonstrates that community grassroots agency is capable of instigating institutional changes and brokering power in seeking social justice in infrastructure provision.
An assessment of the evolution of Kenya’s solid waste management policies and their implementation in Nairobi and Mombasa: analysis of policies and practices.
This paper provides a summary of the priorities and strategies stipulated by the major solid waste management (SWM) policies in Kenya. It also provides a brief assessment of their implementation in Nairobi and Mombasa, drawing on data from a 2016 community-based study. We found that SWM policies have evolved to specificity in terms of focus, functions and scope. There was a shift from criminalizing solid waste action or inaction to promoting good practices; from generic acts to specific ones; and from centralized mandates to more decentralized responsibilities. However, SWM remains a critical concern and a major challenge in Nairobi and Mombasa as a result of weak institutional structures and capacity, weak enforcement of regulatory frameworks, and the control of the sector by criminal cartels.

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