A consultation was organised by Arghyam Trust in September 2009, to share experiences on Sustainable and Ecological Sanitation with the Planning Commission. The following presentations made by the participating civil society groups during the consultation, describe the experiences, challenges, learnings, strategies to be adopted as well as policy recommendations, on the way forward in implementing and supporting sanitation initiatives, especially in rural areas of India.
The presentations are organised along two broad themes - Sustainable Sanitation and Ecological Sanitation. An introductory presentation by Arghyam Trust on Sustainable and Ecological Sanitation is here.
A sanitation system protects and promotes human health by providing a clean environment and breaking the cycle of disease. Sustainable sanitation maybe defined as: “In order to be sustainable, a sanitation system has to be not only economically viable, socially acceptable, and technically and institutionally appropriate, it should also protect the environment and the natural resources.”
Ecological sanitation or otherwise Ecosan / Productive sanitation is one approach towards creating a sustainable sanitation system by recycling the nutrients found in human excreta. The key features of Ecosan are prevention of pollution and disease caused by human excreta and management of human urine and faeces as resources rather than as waste. Conventional approaches to sanitation misplace these nutrients and dispose them and turn the cycle into a linear flow instead of a closed loop.