Faeces to fertiliser: innovations to solve the world’s toilets crisis. SciDev, July 2019.
- Pit latrines still best for regions without sewage systems
- Improvements include membranes to collect faeces and dry flushes to save water
- Community buy-in crucial to toilet innovation success
With nearly 1.4 billion people still lacking access to even the most basic toilet, researchers around the world are looking for innovative solutions, writes Inga Vesper.
First, some good news. Since the year 2000, the number of people forced to defecate in the open has fallen by more than half to an estimated 673 million. However, 2 billion people still lack basic sanitation services, with more than 700 million relying on rudimentary holes or pits, a World Health Organization (WHO) report showed last month.
The problem is concentrated on around 60 high-burden countries, mostly in Africa and Asia, where water is scarce and infrastructure — such as sewer systems and water treatment plants — can be difficult to maintain. Open defecation is widely practised in some countries, but it is not a suitable alternative. It contaminates food and water through flies and can be dangerous to girls and women, as it forces them to seek out isolated spots away from their homes.
But changing toilet practices is surprisingly difficult. “It’s something quite intimate,” says Rémi Kaupp, a sanitation engineer for the UK-based charity WaterAid. “People don’t want governments or agencies to impose what kind of toilet they have in their home. What they want is someone to deal with the aftermath.”
Read the complete article.
Three things we have learned by creating shit-flow diagrams. WaterAid Blog, June 2019.
How do you get a full picture of how a city deals (or doesn’t deal) with its waste? Rémi Kaupp, urban sanitation specialist, swears by shit flow diagrams…
Think about your city. Hundreds, thousands, maybe millions of people, going to the toilet, every day. Do you know where it all goes after the toilet? And, crucially, do you know how much of it is treated?
In many cities where WaterAid works, the answer is: not really. Authorities might have a rough estimate of the proportion of people who have a toilet, and also know where treatment plants are, if there are any – but that’s not the whole picture.
Introducing: the shit flow diagram
To get the full view, my colleagues have been using one of my favourite tools in sanitation: the shit-flow diagram (also called SFD, or ‘excreta-flow diagram’, if you prefer). An SFD looks like the festive picture below. For a given city, green arrows represent the proportions of excreta that are ‘safely managed’ along the whole sanitation chain: from the toilet, through a pit or septic tank, via sewers or sludge tankers, to treatment stations and eventual disposal or reuse.
Read the complete article.
Peri-Urban Sanitation – Water Currents, June 11, 2019.
This issue of Water Currents highlights recent studies and resources on fecal sludge management, container-based sanitation, shared sanitation, and other topics. As noted in USAID’s Water and Development Plan included in the U.S. Global Water Strategy, separating individuals and communities from human waste, properly treating fecal waste, and promoting key behaviors that lessen the risk of illness are critical sanitation and hygiene interventions that reduce diarrheal disease, child mortality, malnutrition, neglected tropical diseases, and other waterborne illnesses, such as cholera.
The first six studies are from the Creating Demand for Peri-Urban Sanitation (SanDem) project, which aims to better understand how to improve the quality of peri-urban sanitation using demand-side/behavior change approaches in Lusaka, Zambia.
We would like to thank staff from Sanitation and Hygiene Applied Research for Equity (SHARE) for contributing content to this issue. SHARE generates evidence to improve policy and practice worldwide to achieve universal access to effective, sustainable, and equitable sanitation and hygiene.
Read the complete issue.
The social dynamics around shared sanitation in an informal settlement of Lusaka, Zambia. Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development, March 2019.
This study explored the social dynamics affecting collective management of shared sanitation in the Bauleni compound of Lusaka, Zambia. In-depth interviews were conducted with landlords (n = 33) and tenants (n = 33). Elinor Ostrom’s eight design principles for the management of common-pool resources was used as a framework to analyse the data.
Social capital within plots was also assessed. Pit latrines were predominantly shared by landlords and tenants on residential plots. However, unwelcome non-plot members also used the latrines due to a lack of physical boundaries. Not all plot members fulfilled their cleaning responsibilities equally, thereby compromising the intended benefits for those conforming. Landlords typically decided on latrine improvements independent of tenants.
Latrines were not systematically monitored or maintained, but punishment for non-conformers was proportionate to the level of infraction. There was no system in place for conflict resolution, nor local organizations to regulate the management of sanitation. Lastly, there were few enterprises associated with peri-urban sanitation.
Social capital was moderately high, and tenants were willing to invest money into improving sanitation. The social dynamics illuminated here provide an important basis for the development of a behavioural intervention targeted towards improving urban sanitation.
Evaluating the Potential of Container-Based Sanitation. World Bank, February 2019.
In the face of urbanization, alternative approaches are needed to deliver adequate and inclusive sanitation services across the full sanitation service chain. Container-based sanitation (CBS) consists of an end-to-end service—that is, one provided along the whole sanitation service chain—that collects excreta hygienically from toilets designed with sealable, removable containers and strives to ensure that the excreta is safely treated, disposed of, and reused.
This report builds on four case studies (SOIL – Haiti, x-runner – Peru, Clean Team – Ghana, Sanergy – Kenya) to assess the role CBS can play in a portfolio of solutions for citywide inclusive sanitation (CWIS) services.
The authors conclude that CBS approaches should be part of the CWIS portfolio of solutions, especially for poor urban populations for whom alternative on-site or sewer-based sanitation services might not be appropriate.
Customer satisfaction with existing services is high and services provided by existing CBS providers are considered safe but have some areas for improvement. While the proportion of total CBS service costs covered by revenues is still small, CBS services are considered to be priced similarly to the main sanitation alternatives in their service areas.
Recommendations include adopting a conducive policy and regulatory environment and exploring ways to ensure that CBS services are sustainably financed. The report also identifies areas for further analysis.
Frontiers 12: Rural Sanitation in Africa: Challenges, Good Practices and Ways Forward In order to achieve universal safely managed sanitation across Africa by 2030 the scale and pace will need to increase drastically.
This edition of Frontiers of CLTS draws on the discussions held across two regional Africa events in 2018, highlighting the challenges faced by programme implementers (both government and non-government staff) at different levels in relation to the Ngor Commitments and the achievement of universal access to safely managed sanitation.
A range of initiatives are presented that show promise in addressing these challenges, along with recommended priority actions.