- 2.6 billion people worldwide lack access to improved sanitation facilities,
- Approximately 2 million people die from diarrhoeal diseases annually.
- Currently, there are an estimated 1.7 billion pit latrine users worldwide, used by 25% of the world's population
Above are only some figures around sanitation, many other often worrying data can be found on the websites of WHO (link: http://www.who.int) and UNDP (link: www.undp.org)
In almost all urban slums in the South water supply systems, even if they are in good repair, are stretched to the limit in terms of available supply, and the outlook is bleak: in many areas the most that even well built and managed urban water supply systems can provide are standpipes or water kiosks. There usually is no additional water supply available for sanitation. Therefore, WASTE concentrates on various non-sewered sanitation options, and particularly on innovative systems that can help ‘closing the nutrient loop’ by using little or no water. For instance the so-called ecological sanitation or ECOSAN, systems based on separation and the option of re-use of urine and faeces for agricultural purposes. Mounting evidence about declining world stocks of mineral phosphorous, the basis of most chemical fertiliser, provides extra urgency to recover human waste. However, specific demand, culture, and local priorities are key to acceptability and sustainability of sanitation sytems. While at the forefront of ecosan promotion and development, WASTE will advise on other technologically appropriate systems if circumstances dictate, including on grey-water treatment and non-sewered sanitation options with a limited water use.