Modernising urban sanitation in Southern Bangladesh
With funding support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the UK Department for International Development (DFID), SNV Bangladesh and the Khulna City Corporation (KCC) proudly launched the “Demonstration of pro-poor market- based solutions for faecal sludge management in urban centres of Southern Bangladesh” project on 31 March 2014.
The need for this project arises from the recent challenges posed by other sanitation and hygiene milestones, namely the fact that fixed-place defecation has created the need for faecal sludge management in the country. Of Bangladesh’s 30 million urban inhabitants, about 42% have improved sanitation, but this largely pertains to latrines or septic tanks only.
In Bangladesh most human waste is dumped untreated into waterways or onto marginal land, harming the livelihoods and health of the country’s poorest. Sludge gets dumped into open drains, marginal land and water bodies like rivers that then suffer losses in fishing resources. Currently Khulna has no designated dumping sites or treatment facilities for faecal sludge.
In Khulna city the challenges facing sanitation are acute owing to a high population density, rapid and unplanned growth and inadequate services such as waste treatment facilities. The city has an estimated population of 1.6 million and 1.2 million in 36 smaller towns (2011 census) of whom 36% live below the upper poverty line. This compared to the national average of 21% who live below the upper poverty limit.
By developing faecal sludge management services in KCC, and the two small towns of Khustia and Jhenaidah in the Khulna division, this 4-year project aims to reform human waste management in Bangladesh. One million people will gain an improved living environment and access to safe faecal sludge management. The project will also give 250,000 people access to improved sanitation facilities and use market-based solutions to make sludge reusable for generating biogas.
Through this project, SNV will be engaging with a wide spectrum of partners to bring in specialised technical expertise on specific treatment options and reuse of faecal sludge as a renewable energy source. Ongoing innovation in technical solutions will be an important part of the solution. This will be coupled with an emphasis on behaviour change of different consumers (i.e. households and businesses) and the development of the private sector, including current informal service providers.
The Minister for Fisheries and Livestock Mr. Narayan Chandra Chanda inaugurated the project at a ceremony at Hotel City Inn, while the programme was chaired by Mohammad Moniruzzaman, Honourable Mayor, Khulna City Corporation (KCC).