Tackling the urban waste and food crises simultaneously and sustainably - examples from the Philippines and Burkina Faso

The current urban population of 3.3 billion is expected to reach 5 billion by 2030. This urbanisation of the global population is equally an urbanisation of poverty. Cities concentrate people, huge volumes of excreta and nutrients from vast areas of farmland into a limited area. For the urban poor in particular, these accumulations result in major health problems and a low standard of living. In recent decades sanitation practitioners and researchers have been working on modern sanitation systems that address two related urban problems the waste and the food production problem. The approaches developed are usually considered under the term ecological sanitation (ecosan) and are based on recognising the value of nutrients as part of a sustainable wastewater management system. Two large-scale projects from the Philippines and Burkina Faso, are presented to illustrate the benefit to the urban poor offered by affordable ecosan alternatives in terms of sanitation and fertiliser production.