33rd AGUASAN Workshop: “Circular economy – transforming waste into resources”

The 2017 AGUASAcircular-economyN Workshop will focus on analysing successful and failed approaches for transitioning from linear to circular water and sanitation models.

The workshop takes place from June 26 to 30, 2017 in Spiez, Switzerland.

Circular economy has great potential to drive the Water and Sanitation 2030 Agenda forward because it aligns directly with the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6.3 of improving water quality and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally and SDG 6.4 of substantially increasing water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensuring sustainable withdrawals.

Key questions and issues: 

  • What does the circular economy concept entail?
  • Which flows are relevant?
  • Which stakeholders need to be involved and how?
  • How can demand for recovered products be created?
  • In which context do these stakeholders act?
  • What are the drivers and barriers influencing the transition towards a circular economy?
  • Which circular economy approaches can we learn from for overcoming the identified
  • How should change from linear to circular water and sanitation be managed?
  • How can health risks be managed?
  • How to address public perceptions associated with recycling and reusing of human waste?

Please find the invitation letter, announcement and pre-registration on the website: www.aguasan.ch. Registrations will be accepted until March 19th, 2017.

AGUASAN is an interdisciplinary Swiss Community of Practice (CoP) that brings together a broad range of specialists to promote wider and deeper understanding of key water and sanitation management issues in developing and transition countries. It builds on committed sector professionals from various specialised institutions involved in Swiss development cooperation, humanitarian aid and research. Since 1984, the CoP provides an exemplary, vibrant and most pertinent exchange platform and think-tank serving the water sector, and constitutes an essential link in the innovation and knowledge management strategy of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). Besides convening quarterly knowledge sharing events, every year members of the CoP organise an international AGUASAN Workshop in Switzerland

 

The Business of Sanitation for All – Toilet Board Coalition

Global Toilet Business Innovation and Investment Summit, 2016. Toilet Board Coalition.

It was a special honour to host over 250 leading businesses and stakeholders this past November in Mumbai at the Global Toilet Business Innovation and Investment Summit.

We have ventured to capture the energy in the room in a brief report sharing the highlights and themes throughout the three days, Nov 15-17 2016.

Please take a moment to take a look and discover the inspiring businesses, entrepreneurs, investors, and ecosystem enablers accelerating THE BUSINESS OF SANITATION FOR ALL!

 

 

Safe toilets help flush out disease in Cambodia’s floating communities

Safe toilets help flush out disease in Cambodia’s floating communities. The Guardian, February 15, 2017.

Open defecation in villages on Tonlé Sap lake contributes to sickness, pollution and drownings. Now, a pathogen-filtering toilet looks set to change lives

An excerpt: Taber Hand, founder and director of Wetlands Work, says the concentration of pathogens like E coli can fluctuate from about 200-400 units per 100ml of water to as much as 4,000 units per 100ml in the dry season. When the levels of pathogens are that concentrated, he says, “it’s septic”.

handypod

The HandyPod system behind Hakley Ke’s floating house in Phat Sanday commune, on the Tonlé Sap lake. Photograph: Lauren Crothers for the Guardian

In 2009, he began designing the HandyPod; a simple, two-container system that filters pathogens out of wastewater. He says the version in use by nine households and a school today, priced at $125 (£100), is the most cost-effective.

The system is gravitational. With each flush – achieved by pouring a ladle of water into the toilet bowl – waste is collected in the first of two containers, where it settles and is broken down using anaerobic processes over a three-day period, and the pathogen reduction begins.

The second barrel is packed with small pieces of polystyrene, which triggers a process that reduces the levels of the remaining bacteria. Each flush also forces the newly treated water back into the river, where it will pass the test for safe levels of pathogens for recreational water just one metre beyond the discharge point.

Read the complete article.

Open Defecation vs. Community Toilets: A Complicated Choice – Global Waters

Open Defecation vs. Community Toilets: A Complicated Choice. Global Waters, February 6, 2017.

She told us all to just forget it. I didn’t catch her name, I just watched her adjust the microphone and stand on tiptoes at the podium. Her grey hair peeked out from behind and she sounded frustrated.

globalwaters

A poster showing good hand washing practices outside a community toilet in Delhi. Photo Credit: USAID/India

Forget the security. It won’t make a difference. Forget the caretakers and the cleaning supplies. We don’t need those. We just want sewer lines in our communities. That’s enough now. We want to use a toilet in our home.

The other women in the audience clearly agreed given the loud burst of applause when she mentioned sewer lines. Instead, she has a community toilet; that or the choice of squatting somewhere out in the open. Choosing between defecating in the open or using a community toilet is layered with far more complexities than I’d understood before.

My colleagues and I from USAID/India were spending the day at a workshop organized by our partner, Centre for Urban and Regional Excellence (CURE). They’re in the early stages of a behavior change communication study that will help us understand why, even with access to community toilets, open defecation is still happening. There were about 100 people living in five slums across Delhi who had given up their day to tell us.

Read the complete article.

Disease ‘superspreaders’ accounted for nearly two-thirds of Ebola cases, study finds

Disease ‘superspreaders’ accounted for nearly two-thirds of Ebola cases, study finds. Washington Post, February 13, 2017.

ebola

Monrovia, Liberia, was hit hard during the 2014-2015 Ebola epidemic in West Africa. (Zoom Dosso/AFP via Getty Images)

They are called superspreaders, the minority of people who are responsible for infecting many others during epidemics of infectious diseases. Perhaps the most famous superspreader was Typhoid Mary, presumed to have infected 51 people, three of whom died, between 1900 and 1907.

Now scientists studying how Ebola spread during the 2014-2015 epidemic in West Africa say superspreaders played a bigger role than was previously known, according to findings published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

 If superspreading had been completely controlled, almost two-thirds of the infections might have been prevented, scientists said.

Do it differently: Toilets are not enough to achieve sanitation, India must reinvent the waste business

Do it differently: Toilets are not enough to achieve sanitation, India must reinvent the waste business. by Sunita Narain, Times of India, February 11, 2017.

The most important programme of this government is Clean India – not just of corruption, but of the muck and filth that is taking over our rivers, our air and our cities.

But equally (and more) important is the agreement that this ‘cleaning’ up is not possible unless we can provide every Indian with toilets that work and toilets that are connected to systems that will safely dispose human excreta, to prevent further pollution of our environment and create another source of bad health.

This agenda is therefore, not just about building toilets but about building sanitation systems that are affordable by all. Only when growth is affordable and inclusive can it be sustainable.

But this is where the opportunity also lies in doing things differently. Till now, the paradigm for urban sanitation has been costly. It has been based on the idea that building toilets is enough to clean the country.

But the excreta sums of different cities, or what we call the city’s “shit-flow” diagram, shows that the situation is grim. Today’s cities do not treat or safely dispose the bulk of human excreta generated.

Read the complete article.

Pit Latrine Fecal Sludge Resistance Using a Dynamic Cone Penetrometer in Low Income Areas in Mzuzu City, Malawi

Pit Latrine Fecal Sludge Resistance Using a Dynamic Cone Penetrometer in Low Income Areas in Mzuzu City, Malawi. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 87; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020087

Pit latrines can provide improved household sanitation, but without effective and inexpensive emptying options, they are often abandoned once full and may pose a public health threat.

Emptying techniques can be difficult, as the sludge contents of each pit latrine are different. The design of effective emptying techniques (e.g., pumps) is limited by a lack of data characterizing typical in situ latrine sludge resistance.

This investigation aimed to better understand the community education and technical engineering needs necessary to improve pit latrine management. In low income areas within Mzuzu city, Malawi, 300 pit latrines from three distinct areas were assessed using a dynamic cone penetrometer to quantify fecal sludge strength, and household members were surveyed to determine their knowledge of desludging procedures and practices likely to impact fecal sludge characteristics.

The results demonstrate that there is a significant difference in sludge strength between lined and unlined pits within a defined area, though sludge hardened with depth, regardless of the pit type or region. There was only limited association between cone penetration depth and household survey data.

To promote the adoption of pit emptying, it is recommended that households be provided with information that supports pit emptying, such as latrine construction designs, local pit emptying options, and cost.

This study indicates that the use of a penetrometer test in the field prior to pit latrine emptying may facilitate the selection of appropriate pit emptying technology.