Category Archives: Regions

At stake in Johannesburg’s ‘recycling wars’: more than trash

At stake in Johannesburg’s ‘recycling wars’: more than trash. Christian Science Monitor, April 2017.

Informal and formal sectors of the economy work side-by-side in many African nations – but can they work together?

APRIL 11, 2017 JOHANNESBURG—In another lifetime, Louis Mahlangu was an electrician. It was a good job, challenging and respectable, the kind of profession that could make his family proud. wastepickers

There was just one problem.

“There was no work,” he says. No matter how hard he looked, Mr. Mahlangu was barely finding enough jobs to scrape by. Then his sister invited him to tag along to her job. The hours were good, she promised, and the pay – well, it was better than anything he was likely to earn replacing wiring in suburban houses.

And so he put on a pair of rubber rain boots, hiked to the top of a squelching mountain of Johannesburg’s garbage, and began digging for plastic.

Twenty-two years later, he’s still there, along with thousands of others like him, collecting dinged Coke bottles and pulverized yogurt cartons discarded by the city’s residents and selling them on to private recycling companies. At his peak, Mahlangu says, he made up to $1000 each month, a respectable wage in a country where the newly proposed minimum wage is around $250 per month.

Read the complete article.

Ghaziabad administration launches ‘Swachhtagrah’ app to monitor open defecation

Ghaziabad administration launches ‘Swachhtagrah’ app to monitor open defecation. Hindustan Times, April 13, 2017.

The Ghaziabad district administration on Thursday launched a mobile app to help officials locate areas where people defecate in the open. Volunteers and monitoring committees will now be able to send complaints and Google map locations of open defecation.

app

Incidents of open defecation can be reported in the app.

According to officials, the ‘Swachhagrah’ app is available on the Google play store but its use will be restricted to use by volunteers and monitoring committee members registered with the district open defecation free (ODF) control room.

The officials aim to provide a total of 12,969 toilets by the end of April as part of the ODF programme. As many as 111 of 196 villages in the district are open defecation-free.

“Once we achieve the ODF status in all of our 196 villages, the app will help volunteers and monitoring committees to check if people are returning to old habits.

They, after providing their login and password, can send complaints and even the location through the app. The complaint will be displayed to all officials and also in the control room,” said Virendra Singh, district Panchayati Raj officer.

Read the complete article.

Active trachoma and community use of sanitation, Ethiopia

Active trachoma and community use of sanitation, Ethiopia. WHO Bulletin, April 2017.

Objective – To investigate, in Amhara, Ethiopia, the association between prevalence of active trachoma among children aged 1–9 years and community sanitation usage.

Methods – Between 2011 and 2014, prevalence of trachoma and household pit latrine usage were measured in five population-based cross-sectional surveys.

Data on observed indicators of latrine use were aggregated into a measure of community sanitation usage calculated as the proportion of households with a latrine in use. blt-logo

All household members were examined for clinical signs, i.e. trachomatous inflammation, follicular and/or intense, indicative of active trachoma.

Multilevel logistic regression was used to estimate prevalence odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI), adjusting for community, household and individual factors, and to evaluate modification by household latrine use and water access.

Findings – In surveyed areas, prevalence of active trachoma among children was estimated to be 29% (95% CI: 28–30) and mean community sanitation usage was 47% (95% CI: 45–48). Despite significant modification (p < 0.0001), no pattern in stratified ORs was detected.

Summarizing across strata, community sanitation usage values of 60 to < 80% and ≥ 80% were associated with lower prevalence odds of active trachoma, compared with community sanitation usage of < 20% (OR: 0.76; 95% CI: 0.57–1.03 and OR: 0.67; 95% CI: 0.48–0.95, respectively).

Conclusion – In Amhara, Ethiopia, a negative correlation was observed between community sanitation usage and prevalence of active trachoma among children, highlighting the need for continued efforts to encourage higher levels of sanitation usage and to support sustained use throughout the community, not simply at the household level.

Could alternative sanitation help South Africa’s water security?

Could alternative sanitation help SA’s water security? Infrastructure News, April 3, 2017.

As the 30th driest country in the world, South Africa is facing greater water security challenges with increasing periods of drought and unpredictable rainfall patterns.

According to a case study on alternative sanitation for water security done by Tomorrow Matters Now, 19.5% of South Africans are still without an improved sanitation service and 4.9% of South Africans have no access to sanitation. Caption-2-Knight-Piesold-768x510

For 60% of water management systems, water demand is overtaken by supply, while 98% of our available water resources are already being used. At the same time, South Africa’s water and sanitation infrastructure is crumbling because of a chronic lack of investment.

Local municipalities are faced with these challenges and its effects on a daily basis.

Some of these include the age old problems of institutional or financial shortcomings and capacity constraints, a delay in sanitation services linked to a delay in housing, and the continued maintenance and improvement of basic sanitation.

Waste management has also become an increasing problem with water treatment plants having released raw sewage into rivers in the past due to poor management and maintenance backlogs.

The case study found the need for alternative means of sanitation.

Providing universal access to conventional waterborne sanitation is one of government’s biggest challenges, and the critical aspects of hygiene and dignity, as well as a healthy and resilient environment need to be addressed.

The study said that ‘flushing’ cannot be the solution as we cannot continue to use clean, potable water to flush waste. “We need game-changing new technologies which require little or no water,” the findings suggested.

Read the complete article.

A financially viable and safe solution for managing human waste

Collecting small monthly payments will help waste collectors build their business.

Bangladesh - pit latrine empytiers

Pit latrine workers in Bangladesh collecting and transporting human waste to a site where it is processed into fertiliser. Image: Neil Palmer (IWMI). Credit: University of Leeds

Spreading the cost of emptying pit latrines over a series of monthly payments could make it more affordable for poor households and help kick start the safe reuse of faecal sludge as fertiliser and biogas. This is the conclusion of a willingness-to-pay study carried out in a rural sub-district of Bangladesh covered by the BRAC WASH Programme II.

The study has already caught the attention of policymakers, and influenced the development of Bangladesh’s first regulatory framework for faecal sludge management. Some of the authors are members of the Bangladesh National Committee for Fecal Sludge Management.

Currently, households struggle to pay a lump sum of US$13 every three to four years to empty their pit latrines. This is approximately 14% of their monthly income. Instead, the study found they could pay small monthly payments of as little as US$ 0.31 per month, comparable to what they spend each month on a mobile phone service. These up-front payments help waste collectors to invest in the development of their service. Nevertheless, a government subsidy would still be needed to cover the full cost of safe removal and transport of faecal sludge.

As mentioned above, there is potential for waste collectors to generate extra revenue by converting faecal waste into fertiliser and biogas. The profitability of these waste by-products, however, can be effected by existing subsidies for chemical fertilisers and conventional fuels. Another factor that can reduce profitability is the low energy or calorific value of human waste compared to other organic wastes. A companion study carried out as part of the BRAC WASH Programme II tested solutions to increase the calorific value by co-processing human waste with other agricultural wastes.

The willingness-to-pay study is an output of the Value at the end of the Sanitation Value Chain (VeSV) research project, lead by the University of Leeds. VeSV was one of six action research projects funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (Bangladesh) through IRC. Additional funding was provided by the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems.

For more information read “Spreading the cost to transform sanitation“, published by the University of Leed’s School of Civil Engineering, 22 March 2017.

Citation: Balasubramanya S, et al. (2017) Towards sustainable sanitation management : establishing the costs and willingness to pay for emptying and transporting sludge in rural districts with high rates of access to latrines. PLoS ONE 12(3): e0171735. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0171735

This news item was originally published on the IRC website, 27 March 2017.

SHARE – Understanding Gendered Sanitation Vulnerabilities: A Study in Uttar Pradesh

Understanding Gendered Sanitation Vulnerabilities: A Study in Uttar Pradesh, 2017. SHARE Project.

The aim of this study was to understand rural women and girls’ age-specific experiences of using and accessing sanitation. The study focused on the accessibility of latrines and the conditions of sanitation experienced across age, religion, caste, etc. Share_Logo_MAIN_STRAP_RGB

The study objectives were informed by research indicating that women and girls have unique needs, and that these needs vary between urban and rural environments.

Specifically, we were interested in assessing the gender, caste, and age-specific experiences of SRPS that rural women and girls experience, and to suggest ways that SDG indicators and guidelines for Swachh Bharat Mission—Rural (SBM) in India might be adjusted to be more sensitive to the unique needs and stresses of rural women and girls without access to sanitation.

WASH is a Key Ingredient in Tackling Poverty in Kenya – Global Waters

WASH is a Key Ingredient in Tackling Poverty in Kenya. Global Waters, March 2017.

Picture a rural household in Kisumu, Kenya. Kale, cowpeas, tomatoes, and butternut grow in a kitchen garden fed by a drip irrigation system. Children help harvest these vegetables for the stew that complements their family’s diet, formally reliant on maize and sorghum. A handwashing station adjacent to the cooking hut and the improved latrine remind family members to wash with soap at critical times.

kenya

A farmer works in a greenhouse at a KIWASH-supported agriculture and nutrition demonstration farm in the largest health facility in Kisumu county. Photo Credit: Eric Onyiego, USAID KIWASH

Thanks to a new community solar-powered borehole, the family is no longer solely dependent on what the rain provides for drinking water. The family garden produces more food than is needed, and the remainder is sold to provide additional income.

Unlike millions of Kenyans, this family is overcoming the cycle of food insecurity, diarrheal disease, malnutrition, and poverty with the support of USAID’s Kenya Integrated Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (KIWASH) Project.

Working to improve the lives and health of one million Kenyans in nine counties, the five-year project (2015–2020) focuses on the development and management of sustainable water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services and increased access to irrigation and nutrition services.

Read the complete article.