Project Name: Appropriate Design of Ecological Sanitation for Bangladesh
Name of Client: DANIDA
Period: November 2007 to April 2008 (06 Months)
Description of Project: For most people sanitation means sitting on a toilet and flushing away the excreta as waste. There are at least 2.6 billion people, representing almost half of the world population mostly in rural Asia and Africa, who do not have access to adequate or improved sanitation/wastewater treatment facilities (WHO/UNICEF JMP 2005). Every year between two and three million people die because of inadequate sanitation, insufficient hygiene, and contaminated food and water (WHO/UNICEF JMP 2005). But technically, even access to “improved” sanitation does not solve the problem because conventional pit latrines usually fail to sanitize and contribute to ground water pollution. So, in reality more than 2.6 billion people need to gain access to effective and sustainable sanitation. About 2.8 billion individuals have access to some type of sanitation, mostly pit latrines, of which many are unhygienic. Of the 1.1 billion people served by sewerage systems, it is estimated that only 30% of those systems have advanced end-of-the-pipe treatment (secondary level or better) (Matsui, 2002) and the remaining 70% are sources of downstream contamination. These figures indicate that even people with conventional sanitation solutions do not escape the sanitation crisis. So, innovative sanitation solutions, firm institutional foundations and locally adapted technologies are required to help meet the MDGs in a sustainable way. Conventional sanitation is currently offered by two models: Pit san (pit-toilets) or flushsan (flush toilets). Sanitation can improve social and economic conditions for all, but especially for impoverished communities. Clearly we need to look for an alternative, cost effective, non-sewerage paradigm of human waste disposal. There is a growing attention for ecological sanitation and this is giving rise to innovations from the concept of sewer-less cities using new technologies, which use extremely low amounts of water or no water at all, and in which all the wastewaters and the solid wastes are recycled. Ecological sanitation can be viewed as a three step process dealing with human excreta: containment, sanitization and recycling. The objective is to protect human health and the environment while reducing the use of water in sanitation systems and recycling nutrients to help reduce the need for artificial fertilizers in agriculture. In the concept of ecological sanitation (ecosan) not only health issues but also conservation of water and other resources as well as the protection of aquatic ecosystems are taken into consideration. Some organizations including NGOs have already installed some models of ecosan. These eco-toilets are installed based on the practice of eco-toilets in other countries. Detail information on design and field performance of such eco-toilets is not yet available. It is therefore important to assess its effectiveness and acceptability of ecsan, and review the performance and design criteria of existing ecosan technologies implemented in Bangladesh.