SANITATION STILL A PROBLEM IN INFORMAL SETTLEMENT.

DESPITE the huge investment in sanitation in various Cities and towns in Africa, such investment in informal settlements is still a challenge, due to informality of these settlements as the result makes them lack enough municipal services such as connection to sewerage systems and collection of rubbish on time. 

According to UN Habitat (2001), an estimated 77% of people in developing countries including Tanzania will be living in urban areas by the year 2025, and half of them in informal settlements.

Tanzania has always held the need for provision of water supply and sanitation highly in its national development plans and was ahead of the international community in setting up target for total provision of service in 1971 two decades ahead of the International Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation Decade. 

These good intentions were thwarted by the economic realities following the oil crises of that decade, and possibly the national policies of the era. Currently development is driven by the MKUKUTA vision written into the national poverty reduction strategy.

Within it water supply and sanitation are accorded a significant priority in that “The [National Strategy for Growth and Reduction of Poverty (NSGRP)] strategy focuses on three main clusters of outcomes and actions related to poverty reduction, namely (i) Growth and reduction of income poverty; (ii) Improvement of quality of life and social well-being and (iii) Good governance and accountability. For the first cluster the outcome target is broad based and equitable growth with a focus on reduction of basic needs poverty and food poverty, particularly in rural areas where poverty is most prevalent. 

The second cluster focuses on improving the quality of life and social-well being, improved nutrition and containing extreme vulnerability. The third cluster aims at sustained conducive development environment, encompassing macroeconomic stability and good governance.

At its level the Arusha Municipality has formulated a 5 year strategic plan (2006 – 2011) which have come to end without much progress. But its vision was: “The Arusha Municipal Council strives to have a stable economy which will enable its residents to have affordable services, alleviate poverty and live in a peaceful environment under good governance”.

Arusha is among the top five most important cities of Tanzania with 81% of the population of 340,000 living in unplanned settlements in an area constituting of 75% of the 9,200 hectares of the present area of the city. Low soil permeability renders on-site disposal of waste water difficult and unhygienic, a situation compounded by high density of housing in the low income areas.

Such a large proportion of unplanned settlements introduce major challenges in the provision of municipal services, not least of which is sanitation. Sewerage covers only 12 per cent of the area. Within this some households refuse to connect to the central system. 

Effluent from the treatment plant does not meet the national environmental standards. In the case of on-site sanitation, in a large area of the city percolation rates of the characteristic black cotton soil are low resulting in poor performance of the pit latrines and septic tank soak-aways.

Combined with the relatively flat terrain at the bottom of the Mount Meru, storm-water is equally a problem especially in the unplanned areas while in the planned areas existing drainage network cannot cope with the high flows.

Spatially, per urban areas are growing much more rapidly than formal urban districts. Densely populated areas like Sokon I and Daraja II, demand of house is high such that, land lords tends to use every space available to add rooms desired for more income. Limited space made difficult to empty the existing toilets and build a new pit latrine toilet when the old one gets full. more than half of households share toilets.

Within the context of its poverty reduction efforts the Government of Tanzania has made commendable strides in developing the water and sanitation sector. The national responsibility for leadership in sanitation is vested in the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare on issues related to policy and in the Ministry of Water as regards implementation. 

Local Governments (District, Town, and Municipal Councils) are responsible for provision of urban services which include sanitation. In 2002 the Ministry of Water formulated the National Water Policy (NAWAPO) was formulated with a mission of “integrated and sustainable management, development and use of water resources in Tanzania and subsequently a national Water Sector Development Strategy and Programmes providing a road map to meet the Millennium Development Goals. In 2006 the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare has formulated a National Environmental Health, Hygiene and Sanitation Strategy which together with the WSDP incorporate current thinking on sanitation.

There have been many initiatives undertaken by various local actors towards sanitation improvement in unplanned settlements in developing countries. The obvious disadvantages, like soil and groundwater contamination with pathogens, bad odour, fly/mosquito breeding, pit collapse or the distance from the house make clear that this cannot be a viable alternative.

However, in densely populated areas, the limits such as digging a new pit when the old one is full often leads to the question where to build the new one. Further problems greatly concern the agricultural sector. The produced nutrients on farms (in terms of food) are transported on a one way flow to municipalities and discharged as waste. At present, this steady loss of nutrients on farms is compensated for by chemical fertilizers.

According to investigation it was leant that the urban poor use different sources of water for different purpose. In most cases tap water is used for domestic purpose while an effluent from waste stabilization ponds in Lemara is used for urban agriculture. More than 100 members have formed an association for managing the waste stabilization pond effluents.

There are no people using excreta (feces and urine) for agriculture. Waste water from waste stabilization pond is used for irrigation in Lemara ward. Those interviewed say that they use waste water for irrigation which came from waste stabilization pond. There seems to be no objection on reuse of wastewater for irrigation and it is practiced informally and for a small scale. Crops which are grown using waste water are maize, Beans, Vegetables, Banana and others like fruits, potatoes, etc. However these vegetables are sold in markets in Arusha where customers who do not know the source of the vegetables buy and use them.

Only less than 30% the population in Sokoni I have water from taps in their houses and the remaining percent normally buy water from those with the tap. In most cases those residents without tap water are buying from their neighbors at 0.20 dollars per bucket. The reasons given by the residents of not having tape water were affordability. It was lean that more than half of the residents  are not affording to connect water to their houses. This is due to high connection cost set by water supply authority (AUWSA). For example, the cost of 100 metre connection was 185US dollars in year (2005).

In addition to reuse of waste water there is reuse of other resources such as metals, organic waste and plastics. This facilitates cleanliness in the residential areas and helps to generate self employment and income. The most commonly recycled wastes are plastic and metals. These wastes are sold to the industries in Arusha. The business is carried by individuals’ especially young men who employ themselves in the business. Waste from kitchen is used for animal feeding and in the farms as fertilizer.

The sanitation improvement has been in less priority as the investigation revealed that people prefer most in improving water supply rather than sanitation. However house owners prefers additional of more rooms for renting in order to increase income rather than improving existing toilets as demand for houses is high. 

It was lead that house owners are willing to construct urine diverting toilets as it will save space and no need of digging holes. More than half of Arusha house owner residents interviewed were able to construct the toilet which cost 600$. 

The remaining half was willing to construct the urine diverting toilets if they get loan. Also people in area with high water table are interested in having urine dry diverting toilets which they see as an alternative to reduce overflow of excreta during rain season.

Also people in rocky areas sees urine dry diverting toilets are cheap compared to digging a hole which is expensive due hardness of the soil, it cost about 1000 US dollars to construct a toilet in these areas.

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