In the face of rapid urban growth, municipalities worldwide face great difficulties in providing sustainable infrastructure to their citizens. This is particularly true for mega-cities in developing countries that are most affected by this rampant urbanization.
The character of urban growth is often informal and takes place predominantly in peri-urban areas or at city fringes. This results in a high number of people exposed to severe health and environmental risks because they are unserved by the city’s sanitation systems. The challenges in services to the urban poor are described here .
Tangible problems connected with urban sanitation are:
- production of enormous amounts of waste and wastewater that is insufficiently collected and treated;
- lack of on-site systems for proper faecal sludge management;
- pollution of shallow ground water – often the source of drinking water for slum dwellers – by leaking sewers, waste, and latrine contents; and
- uncontrolled reuse of (untreated) sewage for irrigation in peri-urban agriculture.
The household centred environmental sanitation (HCES) approach provides solutions to many of these problems. The goal is to work with the community and technical stakeholders to conserve and reuse water, rainwater, and recycle sanitation products to improve sanitation for those in urban and periurban areas. It is discussed in greater detail here.
Given the increasing importance and urgency of an urban sanitation provision, WSSCC has been engaged in a number of activities in the past years.
- WSSCC co-sponsored the IRC Urban Sanitation Symposium in November 2008 in Delft, Netherlands.
- WSSCC assisted the WASH Movement Ethiopia to set their annual 2009-2010 activities under the theme of urban sanitation.