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New MSc thesis on sustainable sanitation in flood prone Bangladesh

July 27, 2011

toilet 1toilet 2

When there is flooding, conventional pit latrines become dysfunctional and contaminate the surroundings

The topic is Sanitation for flood prone areas in Bangladesh by Mr Saif Uddin

The life and livelihood of people of Bangladesh have been revolving around river waters over the ages. Floods are natural phenomena that occur annually in Bangladesh. Bangladesh has around 310 rivers. The Ganges, the Brahmaputra and the Meghna are the three mighty rivers. Total catchment area of these three great rivers is about 1.72 million square kilometer. Only about 7.5 percent lies within Bangladesh. Therefore, Bangladesh forced to drain out huge cross-border monsoon runoff together with its own runoff. The volume of generated runoff exceeds the capacity of the rivers most of the time and this makes Bangladesh one the most flood vulnerable countries in the world. Rural people are the most sufferers from flooding. 73% of the total population of Bangladesh lives in rural area. On average, 20% area of the country inundates annually and during an extreme flood event this can reach as high as about 70%.

toilet 4toilet 3

Floods are one of the major problems for Bangladesh that makes the sanitation system unsustainable. During flood, pit latrine or other type of conventional latrine flooded, excreta come out with flood water and cause serious health hazard. This also causes serious degradation of environment. During flood, people loose sanitation facilities and forced to do open defecation. This causes additional health hazard. Also ground water table remains high after flood. So it is very difficult to take out water from pit latrine. Flood water also contain large amount of silt that filled the latrine during flood. As a result people lose their sanitation facilities permanently and move to open defecation after flood.

 

A household survey was carried out in Manikgonj and Munshigonj district to find out the performance of UDDT during flood period and to evaluate the existing condition of UDDT. It was found that average height of toilet is 0.69 m above ground which is higher than average highest flood level of 0.31 m. 100% users of UDDT have a good experience of using UDDT during flood period. Condition of UDDT toilet was assessed by observing five indicators. These are: condition of superstructure, condition of feces vault and cover, conditions of urine collection system, entrance condition, and cleanliness condition. Superstructure, feces vault and cover, urine collection system and entrance condition are marked as very good, if the components looks clean. If there is no damage on those components of toilet then marked as good and with little damage marked as average. The components are noted as poor, if there is any big damage but purpose can be served and very poor if toilet is not possible to use the toilet. Findings from field observations are presented below:

 

Indicators

Very good

Good

Average

Poor

Very Poor

HH#

%

HH#

%

HH#

%

HH#

%

HH#

%

Superstructure

2

10%

18

90%

Feces vault and cover

1

5%

18

90%

1

5%

Urine collection system

1

5%

18

90%

1

5%

Entrance condition

18

90%

2

10%

Cleanliness condition

1

5%

9

45%

8

40%

2

10%

Results from the household survey to evaluate the condition of existing UDDTs

 

toilet 5 improvedtoilet 6 improved

UDDTs and raised latrines provide resilience to flooding and can still function although high waters. Contamination is also minimized.

 

The MSc thesis about UDDTs in Bangladesh by Mr. Uddin can be accessed here.

Full reference: Uddin, M. S. (2011). Assessment of UDDTs as a flood resilient and affordable sanitation technology, and their potential to contribute to the fertilizer demand. MSc Thesis (MWI-SE 2011/25), UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, Delft, The Netherlands.

Mr. Saif Uddin is a Sub-Divisional Engineer at the Bangladesh Water Development Board.

He manages a website on sustainable sanitation for Bangladesh and is interested to do more activities in the area of UDDTs. He can be contacted on the phone + 88 01816718303 or on email: sumonbwdb@yahoo.com

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