Despite the fact that access to an adequate water supply and sanitation is a fundamental need for all people, over two and a half billion people do not have access to improved sanitation. To raise awareness about the lack of adequate sanitation worldwide, 2008 was declared the International Year of Sanitation by the United Nations.
Securing Sanitation – The Compelling Case to Address the Sanitation Crisis is a report that focuses on the economic case for investing in sanitation and explores ways and means to accelerate progress. Eventhough this report does not specify what kind of sanitary solutions should be chosen, there is a need to emphasize that environmentally sustainable solutions are a prerequisite, if sanitation should contribute to all the MDG's. [ download report ]
Any successful measure for managing human excreta includes the principles of separation, containment and destruction. A Ventilated Improved Pit (VIP) latrine, for example:
Good sanitation is a very important step in stopping the transmission of pathogens from feces to humans. Using a Ventilated Improved Pit (VIP) or a pour-flush latrine blocks the transmission of disease on three out of four pathways. To block all the remaining ways of transmitting disease, it is necessary to have proper hygiene and treat water.
Ventilated Improved Pit (VIP) latrine
The VIP latrine is similar to a conventional pit latrine, but has an offset pit that permits the installation of a vertical ventilation pipe (or structure) beside the latrine. The design of the VIP latrine causes air to flow down into the latrine pit through the latrine squat hole and up out of the ventilation pipe, thus removing odours from the latrine. Flies are always attracted by the smell from latrines, but in a VIP latrine they are attracted to the light at the top of the vent-pipe, cannot escape because of a screen, and die - preventing disease transmission.
Water-seal (or pour-flush) latrines are similar to simple pit latrines, but instead of having a squatting hole in the cover slab, they have a shallow toilet pan with a water seal. In the simplest type, excreta falls directly into the latrine pit when the pan is flushed with a small quantity of water.
Pour-flush latrines can be connected at a later stage with either a septic tank, the effluent from which can be disposed of by means of subsurface-soil absorption, or a small-bore sewer system. The pour flush latrine is a specially designed water-sealed bowl, which requires 1.5 - 2 liters of water for flushing the excreta. This water seal latrine eliminates entry of odor and prevents rodents. This pour flush latrine consists of a single pit either just below the bowl (onset type) or may be offset from the bowl (offset type) using the pour flush type bowl (pan and trap).
Eco-sanitation is a system that makes use of human excreta and turns it into a valuable resource for agriculture, while minimizing health and environmental risks. Visit the following sites for more information.Aquamor : Ecological Sanitation
Ecosan : Ecological Sanitation
Practical Action: Compost Toilets
For More InformationCAWST has a course on sanitation. See Low Cost Sanitation for more information!