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Installation of a community latrine-biodigester, Nepal

Installation of a community latrine-biodigester, Nepal

1 January 2001

Water pollution from human and animal waste, and solid waste from market places has caused periodic outbreaks of fatal water-borne diseases in Pathari Village Development Committee, Morang District, eastern Nepal. Few households have toilets and local sanitation is made worse by the large number of pigs kept in the region. This unhealthy situation has always been a risk to the community, as well as the 18,000 refugees of the adjacent Sanischare camp.

The objective of this project was to install a latrine-cum-biodigester, which uses anaerobic digestion technology, in the market area of Pathari. At the same time, the local communities would be educated on health, hygiene and sanitation so that the quality of life might be improved. Use of this technology would also provide pathogen-free manure which would serve as fertilizer, and produce biogas as an alternate form of energy to reduce/replace kerosene and firewood.

Following revision of the original plans on account of the high water table in the region, a complex housing 10 latrines and three urinals have been constructed on land provided by the Village Development Committee. Additional construction of a guard house, compost pits and observation wells has been completed.

A training programme for selected community leaders/workers and personnel of the Pathari Village Development Committee is expected to bring about changes in the knowledge, skill and attitude of the people vis-à-vis existing sanitation practices and the health hazards this represents. Training methods and approaches, as well as potential trainees, were identified during a visit to the site in December 1997 by a socio-economist, a training specialist and a waste management expert. A total of 22 trainees representing various professions such as business, farming, small industry and teaching attended. Manuals in Nepali language were distributed to trainees.

This proposal, while not immediately focused on refugee communities, is in keeping with small-scale projects implemented under the Refugee-affected Areas Rehabilitation Programme, a multi-sectoral package of activities designed to respond to the environmental impacts of refugees in Morang and Jhapa districts. It demonstrates the importance of providing appropriate assistance to local communities in response to perceived, local needs.