The Application of Ecological Sanitation for Excreta Disposal in Disaster Relief: Experience, Selection and Design; 2012.
Katherine Kinsted. Institute of Wastewater Management and Water Protection.
When responding to an emergency situation, ensuring safe excreta disposal is an urgent priority in the disaster relief effort. Aid organizations typically dig trench or pit latrines, but in some challenging environments, different methods such as ecological sanitation (Ecosan) must be employed. Ecosan is sanitation methods and technologies which promote the safe reuse rather than the disposal of excreta. Currently, Ecosan is mostly implemented in disaster relief for flood-prone areas and locations where excavation is not possible. In addition to meeting the sanitation needs of the affected population, Ecosan can be implemented to allow added benefits such as nutrient recovery, reforestation, and to help begin post-disaster recovery and the transition to peaceful and sustainable development.
Several examples of disaster relief situations where Ecosan methods are employed are investigated. Statistics about these case studies are presented along with successful and challenging aspects of the implementation. Four forms of Ecosan, urine diverting dehydration toilets (UDDT), Arborloo, biodegradable bags and composting toilets are discussed in six countries (Bolivia, Haiti, Chad, Philippines, New Zealand and Bangladesh). UDDTs had the widest extent of implementation and their flexible design makes them a good option for areas where excavation is difficult or there is a high chance of groundwater pollution (such as in flood prone regions). The composting processes offer the best success with reuse of excreta material as compost. Unfortunately though, these processes were quite complicated and do not necessary provide groundwater protection. The Arborloo provided a simpler solution with resource reuse, but this design is unfortunately not appropriate in regions where either excavation is not possible or where high groundwater is present. The Peepoo solution has shown itself to be successful in the preliminary trials, but the design still has many challenges such as cost effectiveness and user-friendliness.
OXFAM – Hygiene promotion: determining what works, 2012. Humanitarian field studies | Cholera response in Haiti
When a massive earthquake struck Haiti in January 2010, followed by a cholera epidemic that broke out in October of that year, Oxfam rushed assistance—clean water, sanitation, and hygiene materials and information—to hard-hit areas to protect public health.
Hygiene promotion is arguably the most important intervention in a cholera epidemic: the route of cholera transmission is fecal-oral, and contaminated hands are often the principal vector. So Oxfam engages in a wide range of hygiene-promotion activities to encourage washing hands—specifically, washing hands with soap at key moments, such as before eating and after defecation.
But which of our interventions have been the most effective, and why? Is it more important to put resources into hygiene-themed theater productions or radio call-in shows? There is little hard evidence to suggest that—in Haiti or in emergencies anywhere—one hygiene-promotion activity works better than another. But lives, not to mention valuable resources, may depend on the answer, so in the spring of 2011, Oxfam engaged Eawag, the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, to study the effectiveness of our hygiene-promotion activities in Haiti.
Latrine at Farchana refugee camp, Eastern Chad. Photo: Flickr/Sustainable sanitation
How important is sanitation during a humanitarian crisis? Why is it important to explore ecological and sustainable sanitation? Groupe URD looks at the case of Eastern Chad, an example of a major long-term crisis. From an acute emergency in 2003, the crisis has gone through a number of phases. The appropriateness of aid mechanisms is currently being questioned, with a particular focus on sanitation. Sustainable sanitation can help to improve the quality of life of refugees and IDPs as well as local populations. From this perspective, what lessons from Eastern Chad could be useful in other contexts?
Groupe URD concludes that the long-term success of alternatives to conventional sanitation in Chad, as elsewhere, does not depend on the application of particular technologies: it depends principally on the participation of the future users (from the design to the follow up) both in the building of the facilities and the re-use of products. Rather than reproducing a design, it is important to understand the principles of ecological sanitation in order to be able to adapt them to a particular context. The key ideas to be retained from the Chadian experience – which can be applied in many other contexts – are participation, awareness-raising, pilot projects, training and lesson sharing.
Read the full article by Julie Patinet of Groupe URD and Anne Delmaire of Toilettes du Monde
Source: Humanitarian Aid on the Move newsletter, no. 9, March 2012
Garbage piled up on a flooded street in Bangkok, Thailand. Photo: Getty Images / WSJ
Industrial parks in Bangkok are being threatened after residents in Bangkok’s northeast demolish government-built levies to release the stagnant, garbage-ridden water that was building up in their neighbourhoods, writes the Wall Street Journal.
Flooded roads are preventing garbage collectors getting to many areas—raising fears over the risk of disease and over the blockage of drains, which is impeding the flow of water into the sea. Bangkok produces about 8,700 tons of rubbish a day—roughly a quarter of Thailand’s total. Added to that figure is the additional trash flowing into the city from northern provinces.
This WASHplus Weekly contains 2010 and 2011 resources about water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) issues in disaster or emergency situations. Please contact WASHplus if you have new or upcoming resources to add to this for future issues. Some of the resources in this Weekly include updates of WHO technical notes for WASH in emergencies, the 2011 SPHERE manual on WASH standards, links to USAID and other relevant websites.
UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education and partners have been awarded a US$ 8 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The grant will be used for postgraduate sanitation education and research with a focus on solutions for the urban poor in sub-Saharan Africa and South-East Asia. This 5-year capacity building and research project was developed by Prof. Damir Brdjanovic, Professor of Sanitary Engineering at UNESCO-IHE and his team.
“This is probably the largest research and postgraduate education project targeting sanitation for the urban poor ever conducted,” Prof. Brdjanovic said.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced this grant when they unveiled their new sanitation strategy at the 2011 AfricaSan 3 conference in Kigali, Rwanda on 19 July 2011.
WASH in Haiti by Jay Graham
Photos highlight two organizations – SOIL and Deep Springs International – working in earthquake affected areas
UNICEF is covering the sanitation needs for more than 7,000 people who have fled the violence in Libya and find shelter in transit camps in southern Tunisia. The refugees first get registered in Ataawan transit camp, where they spend the night before moving on to Shousha camp.
Hygiene kits are being distributed in the camp and messages are also being prepared to raise awareness of good sanitation and hygiene practices, such as hand-washing.
UNICEF WASH Specialist Ahmedou Ould Sidi Ould Bahah is working at the border, assessing sanitation facilities including latrines, showers and water tanks in the Ataawan and Shousha transit camps.
He meets daily with national partners and volunteers, and liaises with the local municipality of Ben Guardane to ensure septic tanks are cleared in a timely manner.
A total of 632 latrines have been set up by UNICEF and partners at the camp, and more are being constructed.
Trucks are currently providing safe drinking water to Shousha but the drilling of a borehole at the camp is being considered to address water supply issues during the upcoming hot season.
Source: Roshan Khadivi, UNICEF, 30 Mar 2011