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Introduction to Urban Sanitation and Solid Waste Management

Introduction to Urban Sanitation and Solid Waste Management

Improved sanitation has proven benefits for human health, quality of life and poverty reduction. It is important for WASH practitioners to understand the drivers and barriers to sanitation in any given context to best serve communities and users. This module is designed to equip students with knowledge of the importance of sanitation, the benefits, the methods and the main challenges. It also covers the disposal of solid domestic waste and the benefits of an integrated approach to waste management.

Learning Outcomes for this Module

After you have studied this Module you should be able to:

  • Understand the principles of sanitation and the sanitation ladder.
  • Describe the technical options for liquid waste management in urban and peri-urban settings.
  • Explain the waste management hierarchy and identify opportunities to minimise solid waste production.
  • Describe the complete process for both liquid and solid waste management, including collection, storage, transportation and treatment.
  • Understand the role and potential of private sector engagement in solid and liquid waste management.

How to use this Module

This Module is designed for independent study, although you may in fact be studying in a group with others. Either way, we recommend that you use a Study Notebook that you keep with you as you work through the Module to note down answers to questions and keep a note of any important points.

The Module is divided into 15 separate study sessions, each expected to take about two hours to study if you are learning on your own. You will see that the study sessions all have a similar structure. Following a brief introduction, each study session has a set of learning outcomes that are linked to self-assessment questions (SAQs) at the end of the session. Within the text, there are in-text questions (ITQs) with answers that you can see by clicking on 'Reveal answer'. When you come across one of these questions, try to answer it in your head or by noting down your answer in your notebook before you read the response that is given. This will help you to learn.

Each session ends with a summary, which lists the key points that have been made, and the SAQs. Each SAQ tests one or more of the learning outcomes that were stated at the beginning of the session. When you have finished reading, you should work through the SAQs, writing answers in your notebook before checking against those provided. Writing your answers, rather than just thinking about them, will reinforce your learning and enable you and anyone else to check how well you have achieved the learning outcome.

Important terms are highlighted in bold and defined in the text. You will find that the first learning outcome for all study sessions is to be able to understand and use these key terms. All the key terms from this Module are also defined in the accompanying Glossary.

You will see that the sources of information used in the text are indicated by the name of the author or organisation followed by the date of publication in brackets, for example ‘(Haddis and Genet, 2012)’. Full details of these sources are listed alphabetically by author in the list of references. If an article has more than two authors, we have used the notation ‘Faris et al., 2012’, where ‘et al.’ is a shortened form of the Latin words for ‘and others’.

Please note that we have used UK English spellings rather than US spellings. Please also note that all years are according to the Gregorian rather than Ethiopian calendar, unless otherwise stated.