Choosing the right post-2015 sanitation indicators (blog post) - and wastewater reuse


  • joeturner
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Choosing the right post-2015 sanitation indicators (blog post) - and wastewater reuse

Note by moderator: this blog post was also discussed here on the Forum:

There is also an interesting blog I saw yesterday from Brian Arbogast at the Gates Foundation.

He says:

No doubt, providing people with access to toilets is a critical step. However, what we have found over the years since the MDGs were set is that mere access to toilets does not result in safe sanitation. Toilets are necessary, but not sufficient. Two more steps are required: people have to use the toilets, and the waste contained by toilets must not be released untreated into the environment, where it will make people sick.

Take Dhaka for example. The WSP collected data showing that while 99 percent of the population in the capital use toilets, only 2 percent of their waste is being treated. That means that an astounding 98 percent of all the disease-carrying pathogens in the human waste from that city are being released into the environment. Those pathogens are being piped into ditches, dumped into fields, leaked out of sewer lines, and released into bodies of water from overloaded treatment plants. It’s even happening right next to the toilets that are supposed to protect people from this dangerous waste. And so, people in Dhaka and in cities all across the developing world are getting sick.

Full blog here:
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  • mwaniki
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Re: Sanitation for All

I think you have jumped into conclusions without researching the subject matter.

DD Mara, S Cairncross, in their “Guidelines for the safe use of wastewater and excreta in agriculture and aquaculture: measures for public health protection” clearly talk of “………. new knowledge indicating that the recycling of wastewater and excreta can now be managed in ways that eliminate risks to health”.

As a soil scientist, it is also recommended that you read “Wastewater Use in Irrigated Agriculture: Management Challenges in Developing Countries “ by CA Scott, NI Faruqui, L Raschid-Sally where they write on irrigation using untreated wastewater.

Kind regards / Mwaniki
Am the publisher of the Africa Water,Sanitation & Hygiene and the C.E.O. of Transworld Publishers Ltd.,Nairobi-Kenya.
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  • christoph
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Re: Sanitation for All

Dear all, seems to be that we are coming back to the issue we discussed quite a lot already (and maybe not enough). How can a treatment for fecal matter be assured?

Dear Mwaniki, I did not get your point. I guess Brian Arbogast did not refer to wastewater recycling, I understand he referred to the aspect, that a toilet does not solve the problem where the fecal matter goes to. When it goes to a treatment plant the problem is solved to a large extent. Problem is the non treated fecal matter.

For the liquid fecal sludge we have discussed some aspects in the discussion about the drying beds or planted filters. For the really dry material there are some options as well. The main problem I feel are the pits of latrines with higher water tables. What can we do? And is it ok to promote latrines in populated areas when we don´t have an emptying and safe treatment solution?


P.S. I found the paper mentioned by Mwaniki.
Thanks for that hint .... very interesting reading
The health aspects of the use of untreated wastewater are quite clear described:

Wastewater farmers had a 4 to 5 fold higher risk of hookworm infection than a group of non-wastewater users. (p.96)

Many farmers suffer from ill health because of their direct contact with wastewater - the lack of footwear or gloves makes them vulnerable to infection by parasites, transmitted either orally (placing unwashed hands in the mouth) or through the skin (parasites burrowing directly into the body). (p.118)

But as well the main problem of changing the habit of the use of untreated wastewater for irrigation due to economic reasons is discussed in three articles (I just read these 3)

8. Wastewater Use in Pakistan: The Cases of Haroonabad and Faisalabad Jeroen H.J. Ensink, R.W. Simmons and Wim van der Hoek
9. Agricultural Use of Untreated Urban Wastewater in Ghana B.N. Keraita and P. Drechsel
10. Untreated Wastewater Use in Market Gardens: A Case Study of Dakar, Senegal N.I. Faruqui, S. Niang and M. Redwood

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