Strategic sanitation in South Asia

2018-02-12T15:09:18Z (GMT) by Kevin Tayler
Cities in the countries of the South are growing rapidly. In South Asia, the urban population in 1992 was almost 300 million, of which around 110 million lived in cities with populations of over 1 million, and was growing at around 100 million people per year. India alone had an urban population of around 230 million. A high proportion of new development is provided without services in the first instance and the subsequent provision of services puts great strains formal mechanisms for the provision of shelter and services. Sanitation is no exception in this regard. Even where services are provided, their working life is often reduced by poor operation and maintenance, due in part to lack of resources. The consequences for urban sanitation coverage are serious. World Bank figures suggest that in 1990, at the end of the International Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation Decade, 453 million urban people, or 33 per cent of the urban population in developing countries had no sanitation services (Wright 1997). This overall figure masks considerable differences between different cities and areas and there is no doubt that coverage rates are much lower for the urban poor. For example, surveys in low income ‘bastis’ in Howrah, Calcutta revealed up to 200 people sharing a single WC.

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