Sanitation Sustainability Index

A new index for on-site sanitation systems is proposed and tested in the context of South Korea. It incorporates the technical, social, and economic aspects of sanitation systems, including onsite waste recycling.

Hashemi, S. Sanitation Sustainability Index: A Pilot Approach to Develop a Community-Based Indicator for Evaluating Sustainability of Sanitation SystemsSustainability 202012, 6937. DOI:10.3390/su12176937

Abstract: Evaluating the sustainability of sanitation systems is essential in achieving the sixth sustainable development goal. However, there are only limited number of available evaluation indexes, which are utilized to macroscopically determine a community’s sanitation coverage. Consequently, an index is required, which can evaluate different sanitation options for a specific community. In this paper, the sanitation sustainability index (SSI) is suggested as an indicator for evaluating the sustainability of sanitation systems. The SSI has sub-indexes that consider the technical, social, and economic aspects of the sanitation system, and all the variables are dimensionless and heavily dependent on the current state of the community where the sanitation system is going to be implemented. The applicability of the SSI was demonstrated by evaluating the implementation of two onsite sanitation systems, including one septic tank system and one resource-oriented sanitation (ROS) system in South Korea. A sensitivity analysis defined the variables that have significant impact, and the statistical distribution of the SSI for both systems was forecasted. The results showed that for South Korea, which has a profound history of utilizing human waste as fertilizer, utilizing the resource-oriented sanitation system is more sustainable, although it has a lower social sub-index score compared to the septic tank system.

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