Category Archives: Uncategorized

USAID Launches Municipal Waste Recycling Program in Southeast Asia

USAID Launches Municipal Waste Recycling Program in Southeast Asia. by Darren Manning, Urban Development Officer, USAID’s E3/Land and Urban Office, Urban Links, February 2017.

Asian countries are responsible for more than half of the plastic waste in the world’s oceans. To help address this critical issue, USAID has launched a new program that focuses on identifying and scaling innovations to improve municipal waste recycling in three Asian countries — Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and the Philippines — which are among the world’s top five producers of plastics waste.

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Outside of Manila, Philippines, thousands of tons of seaweed, garbage and sewage were washed by floods into the streets of low-lying poorer suburbs. Photo Credit: Arlynn Aquino/EU

Improving the management of municipal waste in these countries, which border two oceans, is imperative to reducing plastics pollution that threatens human health and adversely affects the marine environment.

In late 2016, I traveled to the Philippines to meet with local organizations and finalize work plans for the Municipal Waste Management Recycling Program with implementing partner Development Innovations Group (DIG).

The Municipal Waste Recycling Program (MWRP) is a four-year, $9 million initiative to address the global problem of marine plastics pollution.

Implemented under USAID’s Making Cities Work program, MWRP will provide $3.5 million in grants and technical assistance to support promising municipal waste recycling efforts in Asia, evaluate their effectiveness, and make recommendations for future USAID investments in the sector.

Read the complete article.

WASH and the Systems Approach

Increasing Interest in the Agenda for Change and Investments in the Systems ApproachIRC WASH, December 2016. IRC’s CEO Patrick Moriarty discusses key takeaways from the 2016 UNC Water and Health Conference and the growing number of individuals and organizations becoming aware of the necessity of strengthening national WASH systems—and of adopting a systems-based approach. It represents an important step forward that so many in the WASH sector are moving toward strengthening systems rather than just providing hardware.

Systems Thinking: Unlocking the Sustainable Development GoalsEco-Business, October 2016. The world has made some good progress toward advancing the SDGs, but a key piece is missing from these efforts, says Forum for the Future Deputy Chief Executive Stephanie Draper. That is: systems thinking.

Systems Strengthening Thematic Keynote at the UNC Water and Health Conference 2016. (PowerPoint presentation). Heather Skilling, DAI, October 2016. In this presentation, Ms. Skilling discusses her WASH experiences and states that several characteristics of a systems-based approach are: a shift away from fixed, long-term planning to more iterative and adaptive planning based on learning and experimentation; a focus on multi-stakeholder approaches and co-creation with local stakeholders; and a movement away from piecemeal project-by-project progress and toward sector change.

Can Agent-Based Simulation Models Help Us to Improve Services in Complex WASH Systems? IRC WASH, December 2016. In this blog the author discusses the use of a complementary modeling tool to understand and analyze complex social interactions in WASH: an agent-based modeling (ABM) tool. ABM can help practitioners to: diagnose the system; explore the effects of policy interventions; and discuss with partners and clients how the theory of complex systems affects them.

Towards ‘Sustainable’ Sanitation: Challenges and Opportunities in Urban Areas.Sustainability, December 2016. Sustainable sanitation is not a single technology or specific limited sanitation system design, but rather an approach where a broad set of criteria needs to be taken into consideration to achieve universal and equitable access to services over the long-term in a particular context.

Improving Health in Cities Through Systems Approaches for Urban Water ManagementEnvironmental Health, March 2016. This paper reviews links between water and health in cities and describes how the application of four main elements of systems approaches—analytic methods to deal with complexity, interdisciplinarity, transdisciplinarity, and multi-scale thinking—can yield benefits for health in the urban water management context.

Announcing WSSCC’s 2017 Webinar Series #1: Sanitation-related Psychosocial Stress and the Effects on Women and Girls

WSSCC will celebrate Women’s Week for International Women’s Day 2017 from March 6 – 10. Ahead of this, a webinar session will explore the ways in which women experience stress during their sanitation routine: Thursday 2 March 2017 from 2pm – 3pm (CET) (8-9am New York; 1-2pm London; 2-3pm Brussels; 3-4pm Johannesburg; 4-5pm Nairobi; 6:30-7:30pm Mumbai)

REGISTRATION:

Please register here: bit.ly/2lrsUvd

Do you know what the main stressors are for women and girls during their daily sanitation routines?  How do they cope with them?

On March 2nd, the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council will host the first in a series of four webinars for 2017. This session will discuss the psychological, social, and health impacts of sanitation routines among women of reproductive age in urban slums, rural villages and indigenous villages.

Using the life-course approach, during the hour-long session participants will be guided to understand the influence of age, context and social processes on a woman’s experience and family life, and how those factors collectively impact the experience of sanitation. The conceptual model of sanitation-related psychosocial stress will also be shared.

Available on the Skype for Business platform, the session will be presented by Dr. Kathleen O’Reilly, Associate Professor at Texas A&M University, and Dr. Krushna Chandra Sahoo from the Asian Institute of Public Health. The Moderator is Archana Patkar, Programme Manager, Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council.

The webinar series is open to governments, experts, practitioners and trainers in sanitation and hygiene; academia and research institutions and civil society partners.

A session will take place every quarter during the year in the form of an hour-long webinar with invited experts, in English. The format is a 15-minute presentation followed by interactive Q&A sessions.

Reading ahead:  If you would like to know more about the topic ahead of the discussion, here are two relevant readings.

  1. Sanitation-related psychosocial stress: A grounded theory study of women across the life-course in Odisha, India
  2. Briefing note on “Social and psychological impact of limited access to sanitation”

To learn more, visit our website wsscc.org.

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”.

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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.

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.

Living standards lag behind economic growth

Living standards lag behind economic growth. Eureka Alert, February 13, 2017.

As incomes rise in developing countries, access to basic amenities such as electricity, clean cooking energy, water, and sanitation, also improves–but not uniformly, and not as quickly as income growth, according to a new study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters. The study looked at historical rates of energy access compared to other living standards and GDP.

“What we found is that income growth alone isn’t enough on its own to get these basic necessities to all people in society,” explains IIASA researcher Narasimha D. Rao, who led the study.

The researchers also found that access to clean cooking energy and sanitation lagged behind access to electricity and water, a finding which has an outsize impact on the poorest members of society, and especially on women.

“Women bear the brunt of health risks that come from cooking with solid fuels, as well as from lack of sanitation, because women are predominantly responsible for cooking and household work,” explains IIASA researcher Shonali Pachauri, who also worked on the study.

Read the complete article.

5 Offbeat Toilets India Should Adopt To Fight Sanitation Problems

5 Offbeat Toilets India Should Adopt To Fight Sanitation Problems. Swach India, February 2017.

In the era of ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’, issues like open defecation and human waste are getting attention from a large section of our society. Building public toilets that not only define innovation but are also user friendly and cost effective is the need of the hour. In our country 47 percent of people still defecate in the open, and these creative ideas can definitely fight this social problem.

Here is a list of 5 innovative toilets that India can adopt to address the problems of sanitation. 5offbeattoiletsindiashouldadopttofightsanitationproblems11

Solar Powered Urine Diversion (SPUD) Toilets: Having the qualities of affordability, and user-friendly, this toilet is 100% waterless and chemical-free and can be easily installed in rural parts of India. Highlight- Human waste turns into manure.

Portable Tent Toilets: It’s an earth friendly, convenient and portable solution to open defecation in slums. The waste is collected in a biodegradable bag that contains ‘ChemiSan,’ a material that helps to deodorize and decompose the waste. Highlight- Helps in saving water.

Read the complete article.