Management of faecal sludge in the urban areas of low-income countries: a case of Tamale, Ghana
2009-12-02T09:15:46Z (GMT) by
Effective management of the excreta or faecal sludge (FS) emptying, transport and disposal mechanisms from the on-plot latrines in urban areas of many low-income countries is critical for the sustainability of urban sanitation. However the literature mentions the lack of an effective management system for urban FS emptying, transport and disposal in the low-income countries. The current management of FS has been fragmented and improper with attendant poor health and environmental pollution problems. In particular, no substantive information was found relating to how far the excreta or sludge removed from the latrines is transported to the disposal points. Also information on household financial needs and their perceptions regarding emptying and transport services was lacking. No study had been done regarding the effects of disposal distance and accessibility on the cost of emptying and transport; neither has work been done on FS reuse implications for emptying, transport and disposal mechanisms. Based on these issues, the research questions and hypothesis were formulated to guide the study. Qualitative and quantitative research techniques were used to triangulate and ensure the reliability and validity of the findings and analysis. From the analysis of the findings, the thesis concludes on these key issues: i) Emptying, transport and disposal mechanisms of the excreta and FS as well as the costs of these depend on the type of latrines, latrine use and the technology available for emptying and transport. ii) Owing to the nature of latrines and the emptying methods used the disposal of the FS was indiscriminate and much was found closer to its source of generation. iii) FS was in high demand for reuse but lacked appropriate marketing strategy that could match supply with the demand. iv) The Household Centred Environmental Sanitation (HCES) approach was found to be limited in content and capacity to effectively address the urban excreta and FS emptying, transport and disposal without the active and full involvement of the municipal and local authorities with clear roles and regulations that address the key processes, linkages, and capacity development issues. Thus, the HCES approach needs periodic review and modifications to take care of the new developments and peculiarities of each urban setting. The study also recommends the need to look at streamlining technologies and developing capacity to address cross-cutting issues in urban sanitation. It further recommends the need for households, the sanitation authorities and practitioners to understand the links between latrine technology in terms of type, size, use and location vis-à-vis the required emptying, transport and disposal mechanisms in the urban areas of the low-income countries.