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The Potential of Ecosan to Provide Sustainable Sanitation in Emergency Situations and to achieve “quick wins” in MDGs

After emergency situations, aid agencies tend to implement sanitation systems that exhibit good principles for managing human excreta, but can result in groundwater pollution, inconvenience for women and children, or problems with not having sufficient space available to build or rebuild when full. Ecosan is an alternative approach to conventional sanitation systems that promotes ecological and economical wastewater and waste management. Ecosan is based on the principles of containment, sanitation, and reuse. The research project analyzed current practices in emergency sanitation and to describe their shortfalls, and to establish the viability of ecosan at different states of emergency. The analysis of the research has shown that the systems implemented in the long-term phase of the emergency are safe and sustainable in comparison to those used in the immediate to short term. In order for ecosan to be viable during emergencies, specific criteria have to be in place such as ease of transportation and quick installation, availability of water, status of displaced people, stage and duration of emergency, and the role of government in sanitation provision.

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