Improved or Unimproved Sanitation
Sanitation is a basic need of all people. Usually every country has their own way to say these needs are met or not by looking at the population’s access to adequate sanitation facilities. Related to one of sanitation sub-sectors, in this case the human waste or excreta, there is a common definitions introduced by Joint Monitoring Programmes (JMP) to say whether the sanitation facilities is improved or unimproved. The definitions used by the JMP are often different from those used by national governments, but it is interesting to see so called sanitation ladder that shows what is considered improved and unimproved in a more refined way about sanitation.
An improved sanitation facility is one that hygienically separates human excreta from human contact. While unimproved sanitation facilities refers to a condition when we do not ensure hygienic separation of human excreta from human contact or the facilities used publicly or to be shared by two or more household. The worst is when human faeces are disposed of in open spaces with no facilities at all or known as open defecation.
Improved sanitation usually related to the use of following facilities:
- Flush toilet uses a cistern or holding tank for flushing water, and a water seal (which is a U-shaped pipe below the seat or squatting pan) that prevents the passage of flies and odors. A pour flush toilet uses a water seal, but unlike a flush toilet, a pour flush toilet uses water poured by hand for flushing (no cistern is used).
- Piped sewer system is a system of sewer pipes, also called sewerage, that is designed to collect human excreta (faeces and urine) and wastewater and remove them from the household environment. Sewerage systems consist of facilities for collection, pumping, treating and disposing of human excreta and wastewater.
- Septic tank is an excreta collection device consisting of a water-tight settling tank, which is normally located underground, away from the house or toilet. The treated effluent of a septic tank usually seeps into the ground through a leaching pit. It can also be discharged into a sewerage system.
- Flush/pour flush to pit latrine refers to a system that flushes excreta to a hole in the ground or leaching pit (protected, covered).
- Ventilated improved pit latrine (VIP) is a dry pit latrine ventilated by a pipe that extends above the latrine roof. The open end of the vent pipe is covered with gauze mesh or fly-proof netting and the inside of the superstructure is kept dark.
- Pit latrine with slab is a dry pit latrine whereby the pit is fully covered by a slab or platform that is fitted either with a squatting hole or seat. The platform should be solid and can be made of any type of material (concrete, logs with earth or mud, cement, etc.) as long as it adequately covers the pit without exposing the pit content other than through the squatting hole or seat.
- Composting toilet is a dry toilet into which carbon-rich material (vegetable wastes, straw, grass, sawdust, ash) are added to the excreta and special conditions maintained to produce inoffensive compost. A composting latrine may or may not have a urine separation device.
- Special case. A response of “flush/pour flush to unknown place/not sure/DK where” is taken to indicate that the household sanitation facility is improved, as respondents might not know if their toilet is connected to a sewer or septic tank.
Unimproved sanitation usually related to the use of this facilities:
- Flush/pour flush to elsewhere refers to excreta being deposited in or nearby the household environment (not into a pit, septic tank, or sewer). Excreta may be flushed to the street, yard/plot, open sewer, a ditch, a drainage way or other location.
- Pit latrine without slab uses a hole in the ground for excreta collection and does not have a squatting slab, platform or seat. An open pit is a rudimentary hole.
- Bucket refers to the use of a bucket or other container for the retention of faeces (and sometimes urine and anal cleaning material), which are periodically removed for treatment, disposal, or use as fertilizer.
- Hanging toilet or hanging latrine is a toilet built over the sea, a river, or other body of water, into which excreta drops directly.
Shared facilities of any type of facilities also include as unimproved sanitation. But the worst is there is no facilities, includes defecation in the bush or field or ditch; excreta deposited on the ground and covered with a layer of earth (cat method); excreta wrapped and thrown into garbage; and defecation into surface water (drainage channel, beach, river, stream or sea).
How is Indonesia’s current situation? Slowly but surely, there is an increasing percentage of the population access to improved sanitation facilities from year to year. Eventhough there are still many people who access unimproved sanitation, many were still practice open defecation. Improvements in sanitation infrastructure alone is not enough, must be accompanied by an increase in awareness of all stakeholders of the importance of sanitation (USDP/SL)
Tags: Sanitation, Sanitation Ladder, Improved Sanitation, Unimproved Sanitation, Open Defecation