Category Archives: Sanitary Facilities

Composting latrine vs. flush toilet: A crowd-funded study

Composting latrine vs. flush toilet: A crowd-funded study | Source: by Rob Goodier, EngineeringForChange, Aug 2014 |

Excerpt: What we know is that composting toilets have clear ecological and economical advantages over flush toilets. They turn waste into compost, and the compost can fertilize crops, completing a circle of nutrients that saves soils and saves money. They save money in the costs of sewage and in fertilizer. Importantly, they also require much less water.

In this composting pit latrine design, when waste has filled the first pit, the latrine is moved over the second pit. The first pit converts to compost and can be emptied to fertilize fields. Credit: E4C Solutions Library

In this composting pit latrine design, when waste has filled the first pit, the latrine is moved over the second pit. The first pit converts to compost and can be emptied to fertilize fields. Credit: E4C Solutions Library

Those arguments for composting latrines are well documented and have been made for years, but how do they compare in hygiene and how do they fare within the cultures of the different people who use them? Do they limit the spread of disease as well as a flush system with a septic tank or a sewer might? And do they feel as comfortable for families to use? Are they as accessible? And are they really the most sustainable solution in global sanitation?

To answer these questions, Jeff Deal the director of health studies at the water and sanitation engineering non-profit Water Missions International, is raising money through the site that crowdfunds scientific research, experiment.com. The goal is $22,000, which Water Missions International will match to pay for the study.

#CleanUpIndia: #Sanitation “All Stars” discuss plans to make India #opendefecation free

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken up sanitation as a special cause. He would like to celebrate Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary in 2019 by declaring India open defecation free. A noble goal, but is it realistic? The political will and financial commitment is there but can the shift in mindset from building infrastructure to behaviour change and ensuring toilet use and safe disposal be made?

As part of its #CleanUpIndia initiative, TV channel CNN – Indian Broadcasting Network (CNN – IBN) invited an “all star” cast of sanitation celebrities to discuss the Swach Bharat or Clean India campaign that Modi intends to launch in October 2014. What do they think needs to be done to clean up India for good?

In the line up are:

and invited guests:

Free online course on urban sanitation starts 13 October

A team of instructors led by Christoph Lüthi from the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) are eager to teach you how to plan urban sanitation systems.

Together with Sandec/Eawag, EPFL has designed a 5 week online course introducing sector planning tools and frameworks such as Sanitation 21, Community-Led Urban Environmental Sanitation (CLUES) and the Sanitation Systems Approach.

The course consists of lecture videos (English, with French subtitles), practical exercises, a homework quiz and a final exam. The questions and explanations for the practical exercises, the homework quiz and the final exam are offered in English and French. Watch the introduction video.

The course “Planning & Design of Sanitation Systems and Technologies” runs from 13 October to 16 November 2014.

It is the 2nd MOOC (massive open online course) of the series on “WASH in developing countries”. The first MOOC was on “Household Water Treatment and Safe Storage“.

Deprived of water and sanitation in Gaza

We don’t want another catastrophe besides the one we already have. Fatma (43) mother of 9 children

Since the start of the Israeli assault on Gaza on 7 July 2014, codenamed “Protective Edge”, the water and wastewater infrastructure in Gaza has been heavily affected by Israeli airstrikes and shelling.

Main water supply and wastewater as well as electricity infrastructure has been hit. As a result services have been cut or severely disrupted, affecting the entire population in Gaza.

Up to 25 per cent of Gaza’s population were displaced. The 1.8 million people in Gaza, living in homes and shelters have extremely restricted access to water and sanitation.

Fatma, 45, was displaced with her family and sought shelter at a school in Ash Shuja’iyeh. She speaks in a Thirsting for Justice campaign video about the problems with water, sanitation and hygiene that her family faces amongst the many other displaced.

Photo: EWASH

Thirsting for Justice is an initiative of EWASH, the Emergency Water Sanitation and Hygiene group in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

India: Big push for small cities

By Prakhar Jain (email) and Aditya Bhol

The run-up to elect a new government brought sanitation to the fore of public conversation in India. Last month, Prime Minister Modi declared sanitation as a national priority, announcing ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’, a sanitation programme dedicated to creating clean India by 2019 as a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary. Whether or not this plan succeeds may depend on whether it is simply a repackaged programme such as the ‘Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan’ that was focused entirely on building toilets in rural India, or a renewed commitment to improve sanitation in both the rural and urban areas.  As India urbanizes, demand for effective and sustainable sanitation services will increase. India, with 11% of the world’s urban population currently, accounts for 46% of global urban open defecation [i]. While other developing countries like China, Vietnam, and Peru have already achieved open defecation free (ODF) status in urban areas, India still lags behind. The situation is particularly abysmal in small cities (population below a million) where close to 17% of the population defecates in the open as compared to 4% in large cities (population greater than a million) [ii]. The 2011 national census has shown that these small cities represent more than 91% of total urban open defecation in the country. If we are to catch up, the key is to immediately turn our attention towards small and medium-sized cities.

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August 15 is World Portable Sanitation Day

World Portable Sanitation Day logo and photo

We already had World Toilet Day on November 19. Now, starting in 2014, we have World Portable Sanitation Day (WPSD), initiated by the Portable Sanitation Association International (PSAI), on August 15.

The aim of the celebration is to raise awareness about the need to expand access to sustainable sanitation. The PSAI estimates that portable sanitation can save 125 million gallons (470 million litres) of fresh water daily, as well as have a significant impact on productivity and fuel savings at construction sites.

PSAI Decal

 

The PSAI has over 550 portable restroom organisations in 34 countries around the world as members. The majority of members are from the USA, where the PSAI is based.

Web site: http://psai.org/world-portable-sanitation-day/

Innovative communal sanitation models for the urban poor: Lessons from Uganda

Innovative communal sanitation models for the urban poor: Lessons from Uganda, 2014.

Authors: Greg Bachmayer, Noah Shermbrucker. SHARE.

This paper describes the construction and management processes related to two toilet blocks in Uganda, one in Jinja and one in Kampala. Designs, financial models and insights into the process and challenges faced are presented and reflected on. Discussions about scaling up sanitation provision through these models are also tabled. To strengthen their planning processes, the Ugandan federation sought to draw on other community driven processes in India and Malawi. With divergent contexts, especially in terms of density, lessons were adapted to local conditions. SHARE_ResearchReport_Uganda_final-20

Through unpacking these experiences the paper draws attention to a number of key points. Firstly it argues that organised communities have the potential to develop functional and sustainable systems for the planning, construction and management of communal toilet blocks. Secondly, how shared learning, practical experience and exchanges driven by communities assisted in refining the sanitation systems and technologies piloted and thirdly the value, especially in terms of scale and leverage of including City Authorities in the provision of communal sanitation. A fourth key point, interwoven across discussions, relates to the financial planning, costing and affordability of the sanitation options piloted. Understanding the seed capital investments needed and various options for cost recovery is vital in assessing the affordability and scalability of pilots.

The paper mixes one of the co-author’s reflections (written in first person) with descriptions and analysis of the sanitation projects supported. This narrative method is deployed to emphasise the collegiate manner in which learning takes place across a country-spanning network of urban poor communities.