Monday, 11 August 2008

New Internationalist

The August issue of New Internationalist has ‘Toilets’ as it theme − you can access it here (‘current issue’) (only the editorial by Maggie Black can be viewed at present), but I think from next month it’ll be here (‘back issues’) and you should be able to read the whole issue.

There’s a good debate ‘To sewer or not to sewer’ with David Satterthwaite, Senior Fellow, Institute for Environment and Development, ‘in praise of sewers’ (but he doesn’t mention simplified/condominial sewerage, only the Orangi Pilot Project in Karachi) and Mayling Simpson-Hébert, regional WatSan adviser, Catholic Relief Services Kenya, ‘in praise of pits’ (arborloos, fossas alternas, skyloos, in particular). Mayling says it all really: “Sewerage systems have advantages for crowded urban areas, but for small towns and rural areas, the simple pit is best.” Agreed (well, more or less).

The article ‘A lifetime in muck’ highlights the misery of the manual scavengers in India, the ‘frogmen’ in Dar es Salaam, and bucket-latrine emptiers in Ghana, really everyone who has to handle other people’s excreta for a living.

There’s a good article on what women need from a sanitation facility: privacy, security, soap and water, disposal facilities (for sanitary cloths, wastewater, garbage), potties (for children’s excreta), proximity to home, and easily cleanable designs. Not a lot to ask really, so all this should always be provided, at least wherever possible.