Finding Sustainable Solutions to Urban Sanitation: Environment-friendly toilets for Bangladesh

"I am moved by the fact that a child dies every two and a half minutes from diseases linked to open defecation. Those are silent deaths – not reported on in the media, not the subject of public debate. Let's not remain silent any longer"  UN Deputy Secretary-General, Jan Eliasson (May 2014)
 
Finding sustainable solutions to accessing clean water requires a number of approaches including removing the barriers to clean water.  The use of improper latrines results in waste mixing with drinking water.  With 2.5 billion people practicing open defecation or lacking adequate sanitation facilities, the risk of waterborne disease increases.  Among these are typhoid, cholera and diarrhea.  In Bangladesh, diarrheal disease is a major health concern and is responsible for killing over 100,000 children each year.  Chronic diarrhea can hinder child development by impeding the absorption of essential nutrients.  Migration to Dhaka puts enormous strain on the current latrines; in a recent survey, the Government of Bangladesh noted that only 20% of those living in urban slums have access to a hygienic toilet.  
 
It is clear that a solution is desperately needed.
 
This is why, with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, ICCO Cooperation has teamed up SanMark CITY project along with Dushtha Shasthya Kendra (DSK) and International Development Enterprises iDE to offer sustainable, affordable sanitation technologies to the residents of the urban slums of Dhaka.  Our project tests four on-site  toilet technologies: the Tiger Toilet, Sun-Mar, Enbiolet and the Biofil Toilet, to find the ‘perfect’ toilet for the residents in the slum.  Through a third party evaluation, the most technically and environmentally sound toilet will be identified, and successful technology providers will be linked with the private sector agencies to make the technology available commercially in large scale throughout the country.  The technologies included in the project do not require connection with sewerage line and they stop human waste from contaminating the ground - an effective way to prevent disease.  
 
Our vision is that this technology is eventually scaled up to reach the 80% of individuals in slums who need it and prevents children from dying.