Sunday, 15 November 2009

EcoSan in Africa

The WSP-Africa report Study for Financial and Economic Analysis of Ecological Sanitation in Sub-Saharan Africa, by Richard Schuen, Jonathan Parkinson and Andreas Knapp, is based on three case studies, which all promoted urine-diverting dry toilets, in Kabale (Uganda), eThekwini (South Africa) and Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso). Here’s an excerpt from the Executive Summary:

Based on the case study analysis, none of the currently implemented systems are seen to provide an obvious model for scaling up without considerable external support. Much research is still required to assess the costs of marketing ecosan compared with conventional sanitation, and to assess the costs of different management arrangements. ... There is need to look in more detail, at the different management arrangements and costs for setting up and operating house-to-house collection services. There may also be ways of introducing more cost effective technologies to enhance the efficiency of the operation. [Emphasis added]

‘Without considerable external support’ means massive subsidies. So now we know (again): EcoSan just hasn’t yet reached a stage where it can be implemented at scale in urban areas without the need for huge subsidies. So why is it so heavily promoted? Will all the EcoSanologists please wake up?!