Category Archives: Latin America & Caribbean

A Cheap, Easy Fix to Rio’s Sewage Problem

A Cheap, Easy Fix to Rio’s Sewage Problem | Source: The Atlantic, Aug 4 2016 |

The reason so much sewage is flushed directly into Rio’s Guanabara Bay, city officials have argued, is that it’s too difficult to lay pipes in much of the city. The favelas are crowded and carved into steep mountainsides.

biodigest

Barros uses cups to demonstrate how the biodigester works. (Olga Khazan / The Atlantic)

They can be dangerous. Environmental activists, meanwhile, contend there’s not enough government will behind sanitation projects.

But there is one solution that gets around these issues: A cheap, seven-foot, cement dome that treats sewage with little more than some rocks, plants, and, well, coprophagic bacteria.

I learned about this contraption, called a biodigester, on a December reporting trip to Rio. On a scorching hot day, I took a cab up a mountain in the city’s northern zone, where I met Otavio Barros, the leader of the Vale Encantado community.

Read the complete article.

Trash and treasure in Brazil’s Jóquei landfill – in pictures

Trash and treasure in Brazil’s Jóquei landfill – in pictures | Source: The Guardian, July 6 2016 |

The Lixão do Jóquei is one of the largest open landfills in Latin America. Under a 2010 federal law, all solid waste in Brazil should be put in modern landfills that have been lined to stop toxins soaking into the soil. brazil

Jóquei, which does not meet those requirements, is scheduled to be closed this year, but hundreds of people still make a dangerous living from scavenging amid its mounds of trash.

Exact numbers of people working at the site are hard to come by. According to municipal authorities, about 600 people sort rubbish here, but the workers themselves, known as catadores, put the figure at more than 2,600.

Read the complete article.

Methane production for sanitation improvement in Haiti

Methane production for sanitation improvement in HaitiBiomass and Bioenergy
Volume 91, August 2016, Pages 288–295.

Authors: Stephanie Lansing, Holly Bowen,  et. al.

There is a great need for decentralized anaerobic digestion (AD) that utilizes wastewater for energy generation. The biochemical methane potential (BMP) of Haitian latrine waste was determined and compared to other waste streams, such as grey water, septage, and dairy manure.

Average methane (CH4) production for the latrine waste (13.6 ml ml−1 substrate) was 23 times greater than septage (0.58 ml ml−1 substrate), and 151 times greater than grey water (0.09 ml ml−1 substrate), illustrating the larger potential when waste is source separated using the decentralized sanitation and reuse (DESAR) concept for more appropriate treatment of each waste stream.

Using the BMP results, methane production based on various AD configurations was calculated, and compared with the full-scale field AD design.

Methane potential from the BMP testing was calculated as 0.006–0.017 m3 person−1 day−1 using the lowest and highest latrine BMP results, which was similar to the values from the full-scale system (0.011 m3 person−1 day−1), illustrating the ability of BMPs to be used to predict biogas production from sanitation digesters in a smaller-scale setting.

Brazil official links inadequate sanitation to Zika outbreak

Brazil official links inadequate sanitation to Zika outbreak | Source: Yahoo News, Feb 11, 2016 |

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil’s minister of cities says there is a “strong link” between the country’s woeful sanitation system and the current outbreak of the mosquito-borne Zika virus.

Gilberto Kassab said Wednesday that while the country has made progress over the past decade, sewage and water delivery systems leave “much to be desired,” and promised that basic sanitation will continue to be a government priority.

Sewage often flows through open channels into stagnant waters, and a lack of piped water service leads many Brazilians to rely on tanks that create a habitat for the Aedes aegypti mosquito that transmits Zika, which has been linked to a rare birth defect called microcephaly which can leave babies with long-lasting health and developmental problems.

Kassab conceded the virus spread “has a strong link with the absence of sanitation,” in quotes carried by the O Estado de S. Paulo daily.

His comments came at a news conference in the capital by the National Conference of Brazilian Bishops, which issued a statement blasting the government over water treatment, sewage and the collection of rubbish. The conference’s head, Sergio da Rocha, said “the lack of basic sanitation is among the principal causes for the proliferation of mosquitoes.”

Trata Brasil, a Sao Paulo-based pro-sanitation organization, says 35 million Brazilians, or around 18 percent of the population, do not have regular access to tap water. The group estimates that more than 60 percent of sewage nationwide flows untreated into waterways and onto the country’s famed beaches.

Sanitation has become a hot-button issue here ahead of this year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro as officials have acknowledged they will be unable to fulfill promises to clean up waterways where aquatic sports are to be held. An Associated Press investigation last year found Rio’s Olympic water venues are rife with sewage, with such high viral levels that experts say they represent a serious health risk to the approximately 1,400 Olympic athletes slated to compete in them.

NEW BLOG! Community-run aqueducts in Colombia promote public policy for scaling up public finance for WASH, By Valeria Llano-Arias

adaca4Community-run aqueducts in Colombia promote public policy for scaling up public finance for WASH

  This blog describes a particular case of an association of community aqueducts in Colombia and the advocacy process to demand increased public investment and support to their work as water service providers.

You can read the blog  here

Now available on WSUP-website for free download: masters-level professional training module “Water and Sanitation for Urban Low-Income Communities”

WSUP/WEDC have developed a teaching resource on urban WASH that is now available online for free, It aims at helping the urban WASH sector to professionalize. We hope it will be helpful for academics and practitioners to use or adapt if they feel it can be of value to them.

In short: this is a masters-level professional training module called “Water and Sanitation for Urban Low-Income Communities”. It was primarily designed to give engineering masters students in low-income countries an overview of things they need to know in order to apply their technical skills in low-income communities, and that’s how WSUP and WEDC are currently using it, in partnership with universities in Africa and Asia. But of course it may be adaptable to other teaching contexts.

It’s designed for classroom delivery, over about 45 hours of contact time. It’s made up of 16 thematic units, and within each unit the materials essentially comprise a Powerpoint presentation plus Lecturer Notes outlining the unit’s aims and content, and providing guidance on how to deliver the class. Some units are flexible in content, to enable adaptation to local contexts.

It can be delivered as an off-the shelf package; or you might want to cut-and-paste parts of it into your own materials; or you might simply use it as guidance in developing other materials.

It’s absolutely free to download, but we do ask that you fill in a brief Use Request Form explaining who you are and how you might use it: evidently, it’s useful for us to be able to communicate this to the funder of the work (DFID).

See www.wsup.com/programme/resources/

For information, we expect to have a French-language version available within the next few months.

The module was developed by (alphabetical order): Louise Medland, Guy Norman, Brian Reed, Pippa Scott, Regine Skarubowiz, and Ian Smout; inputs also came from Richard Franceys and Valentina Zuin.

Public Finance for WASH initiative launched

yEQO4lKYNlKPFSgvGOJk2CXoeLClSTeZ1RHa3EaE9L4

Today sees the launch of Public Finance for WASH, a research and advocacy initiative aiming to increase awareness of domestic public finance and its critical importance for water and sanitation provision in low-income countries. Check out our website www.publicfinanceforwash.com.

This is a collaborative initiative between IRC, Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP), and Trémolet Consulting. A key aim is to offer easy-to-read but rigorous information about domestic public finance solutions: our first three Finance Briefs are now available for download from our website, and over the coming year we will be building a comprehensive resource library.

And just to make sure we’re on the same page: what exactly is domestic public finance? Essentially, it’s money derived from domestic taxes, raised nationally (e.g. by the Kenyan government) or locally (e.g. by Nairobi’s municipal government). This money is going to be critical for achieving the water and sanitation SDGs: so how can we all work together to ensure that what we’re doing is supporting (not inhibiting) the development of effective public finance systems? And how can public finance be spent in ways that catalyse the development of dynamic markets for water and sanitation services?

To find out more, please check out the website. If you’d like to become involved in any way, get in touch!