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Special Issue "Sustainable Development of Sanitation, Water Supply and Solid Waste in Low-and Middle Income Settings"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2016)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Christian Zurbrügg

Department Sanitation, Water and Solid Waste for Development, Eawag, Überlandstrasse 133 8600 Dübendorf, Switzerland
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +41 58 765 5423
Interests: solid waste management; sustainable water management; water treatment; urban sanitation; water supply

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In 2015, the UN General Assembly adopted the universal, integrated and transformative 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets. The overall aim is to free the human race from poverty, realize the human rights of all, achieve gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls, as well as safeguard the planet for generations to come. The goals balance the three dimensions of sustainable development: the economic, social and environmental.

Drinking water, sanitation and solid waste management are at the core of the new 2030 Agenda. This is expressed through dedicated goals on water and sanitation(SDG 6), sustainable cities (SDG 11), and responsible consumption (SDG 12) and clear linkages to goals relating to health, food security, climate change, resilience to disasters and protection of ecosystems, among many others.  

Sanitation, water supply and solid waste management are crucial for achieving the SDGs. Progress is especially urgent in low and middle-income settings where the most vulnerable bear the greatest burden of the negative impact. Furthermore, where sanitation, water and solid waste has been improved, unfortunately around 30% of the projects fail after two to five years. To provide lasting, reliable services to all requires the use of sustainability principles and practices from the beginning.

Therefore, it is timely to publish research results and provide scientific evidence on how sustainability in these sectors can be achieved. Sustainability is one of the most pressing issues facing the WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) sector today.

Comprehensive reviews, case studies, or research articles that focus on scientific methods, evidence of sustainable approaches and promising innovations in drinking water supply, sanitation and solid waste management are invited for submission to this Special Issue.

Dr. Christian Zurbrügg
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Drinking water
  • Multiple water use services
  • Water treatment
  • Water supply systems
  • Toilets
  • Wastewater management
  • Fecal sludge management
  • Hygiene behavior
  • Biowaste management
  • Waste recycling
  • Policy and regulation
  • Urban slums
  • Slum upgrading
  • Participatory development
  • Affordable environmental services
  • Urban infrastructure

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Sustainability in Practice: Experiences from Rural Water and Sanitation Services in West Africa
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 403; doi:10.3390/su9030403
Received: 16 January 2017 / Revised: 17 February 2017 / Accepted: 3 March 2017 / Published: 9 March 2017
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Abstract
Sustainability in water and sanitation, understood as the durability of services with a set of agreed characteristics over time, is a major challenge, particularly in rural areas of Sub-Saharan Africa. This fundamental issue must be addressed if the Sustainable Development Goals for universal
[...] Read more.
Sustainability in water and sanitation, understood as the durability of services with a set of agreed characteristics over time, is a major challenge, particularly in rural areas of Sub-Saharan Africa. This fundamental issue must be addressed if the Sustainable Development Goals for universal access to water and sanitation are to be achieved. Major international organizations and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) need to work alongside governments to improve sustainability. This paper describes the framework for sustainability programming developed by UNICEF, which is based on a collaborative and iterative learning and adaptive approach, underpinned by regular sustainability spot checks that inform a wider national sustainability agreement. The paper details the results of application of this framework in eight West African countries over the period 2013–2015. Results show the usefulness of the framework in identifying sustainability challenges and acting upon them. However, the continuous adaptation of programs is challenging for governments and international organizations. At the same time, structural aspects that threaten sustainability (e.g., lack of capacity) cannot be addressed in the short term. Further cycles of application of the framework will continue to provide evidence on the successes and limitations of the approach and inform its evolution into a stable country led-framework. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Resolving Governance Issues to Achieve Priority Sustainable Development Goals Related to Solid Waste Management in Developing Countries
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 404; doi:10.3390/su9030404
Received: 15 December 2016 / Revised: 27 February 2017 / Accepted: 1 March 2017 / Published: 9 March 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (818 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
As a key utility service that more than 2 billion people are currently lacking, solid waste management (SWM) is a crosscutting issue that can be directly linked to 12 out of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Distinguishing between physical components and
[...] Read more.
As a key utility service that more than 2 billion people are currently lacking, solid waste management (SWM) is a crosscutting issue that can be directly linked to 12 out of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Distinguishing between physical components and governance aspects of SWM, this research focuses on governance issues concerning basic solid waste collection services and controlled disposal, thus addressing the ‘How’ and the ‘Who’ dimensions of a SWM system. As a form of transdisciplinary research, the findings from the literature on governance issues in SWM were iteratively subjected to several rounds of commentary by a large group of stakeholders from six continents, within the authors’ work for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)’s 2015 Global Waste Management Outlook. The study identifies a combination of complementary instruments required for extending collection to all and bringing disposal under control. While municipalities have a legal responsibility for providing services to their citizens, various service providers can contribute to an effective SWM system. Appropriate forms of funding are essential to secure financial sustainability of the services under the local conditions of affordability and willingness to pay. As new services require behavioural change on the part of citizens and municipal waste departments alike, communication and exchange with other stakeholders function as enabling and supporting factors. The significance of capacity development is highlighted. Full article
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Open AccessArticle A General Micro-Level Modeling Approach to Analyzing Interconnected SDGs: Achieving SDG 6 and More through Multiple-Use Water Services (MUS)
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 314; doi:10.3390/su9020314
Received: 12 December 2016 / Revised: 11 February 2017 / Accepted: 14 February 2017 / Published: 21 February 2017
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Abstract
The 2030 agenda presents an integrated set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targets that will shape development activities for the coming decade. The challenge now facing development organizations and governments is how to operationalize this interconnected set of goals and targets through
[...] Read more.
The 2030 agenda presents an integrated set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targets that will shape development activities for the coming decade. The challenge now facing development organizations and governments is how to operationalize this interconnected set of goals and targets through effective projects and programs. This paper presents a micro-level modeling approach that can quantitatively assess the impacts associated with rural water interventions that are tailored to specific communities. The analysis focuses on how a multiple-use water services (MUS) approach to SDG 6 could reinforce a wide range of other SDGs and targets. The multilevel modeling framework provides a generalizable template that can be used in multiple sectors. In this paper, we apply the methodology to a dataset on rural water services from Mozambique to show that community-specific equivalents of macro-level variables used in the literature such as Cost of Illness (COI) avoided can provide a better indication of the impacts of a specific intervention. The proposed modeling framework presents a new frontier for designing projects in any sector that address the specific needs of communities, while also leveraging the knowledge gained from previous projects in any country. The approach also presents a way for agencies and organizations to design projects or programs that bridge sectors/disciplines (water, irrigation, health, energy, economic development, etc.) to advance an interconnected set of SDGs and targets. Full article
Open AccessArticle GIS Analysis and Optimisation of Faecal Sludge Logistics at City-Wide Scale in Kampala, Uganda
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 194; doi:10.3390/su9020194
Received: 13 October 2016 / Revised: 24 December 2016 / Accepted: 18 January 2017 / Published: 29 January 2017
PDF Full-text (3783 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The majority of residents in low- and middle-income countries are served by onsite sanitation. Equitable access to sanitation, including emptying, collection, and transport services for the accumulation of faecal sludge remains a major challenge. Comprehensive information on service coverage by mechanical faecal sludge
[...] Read more.
The majority of residents in low- and middle-income countries are served by onsite sanitation. Equitable access to sanitation, including emptying, collection, and transport services for the accumulation of faecal sludge remains a major challenge. Comprehensive information on service coverage by mechanical faecal sludge emptying service providers is lacking. The purpose of this study is to analyse the spatial distribution of service coverage and identify areas without faecal sludge emptying services in Kampala, Uganda. The study uses GIS (geographic information systems) as a tool to analyse real-time data of service providers based on GPS (global positioning system) units that were installed in a representative number of trucks. Of the total recorded 5653 emptying events, 27% were located outside Kampala city boundaries. Of those within Kampala city boundaries, 37% were classified as non-household customers. Areas without service provision accounted for 13% of the total area. Service provision normalised by population density revealed much greater service provision in medium- and high-income areas than low- and very low-income areas. The employed method provides a powerful tool to optimise faecal sludge management on a city-wide scale by increasing sustainability of the planning and decision-making process, increasing access to service provision and reducing faecal sludge transport times and costs. Full article
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Open AccessArticle A Quantitative Groundwater Resource Management under Uncertainty Using a Retrospective Optimization Framework
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 2; doi:10.3390/su9010002
Received: 3 November 2016 / Revised: 12 December 2016 / Accepted: 15 December 2016 / Published: 22 December 2016
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Abstract
Water resources are a major concern for any socio-economic development. As the quality of many surface fresh water sources increasingly deteriorate, more pressure is being imparted into groundwater aquifers. Since groundwater and the aquifers that host it are inherently vulnerable to anthropogenic impacts,
[...] Read more.
Water resources are a major concern for any socio-economic development. As the quality of many surface fresh water sources increasingly deteriorate, more pressure is being imparted into groundwater aquifers. Since groundwater and the aquifers that host it are inherently vulnerable to anthropogenic impacts, there is a need for sustainable pumping strategies. However, groundwater resource management is challenging due to the heterogeneous nature of aquifer systems. Aquifer hydrogeology is highly uncertain, and thus it is imperative that this uncertainty is accounted for when managing groundwater resource pumping. This, therefore, underscores the need for an efficient optimization tool which can sustainably manage the resource under uncertainty conditions. In this paper, we apply a procedure which is new within the context of groundwater resource management—the Retrospective Optimization Approximation (ROA) method. This method is capable of designing sustainable groundwater pumping strategies for aquifers which are characterized by uncertainty arising due to scarcity of input data. ROA framework solves and evaluates a sequence of optimization sub-problems in an increasing number of realizations. We used k-means clustering sampling technique for the realizations selection. The methodology is demonstrated through application to an hypothetical example. The optimization problem was solved and analyzed using “Active Set” algorithm implemented under MATLAB environment. The results indicate that the ROA sampling based method is a promising approach for optimizing groundwater pumping rates under conditions of hydrogeological uncertainty. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Continuation of Health Behaviors: Psychosocial Factors Sustaining Drinking Water Chlorination in a Longitudinal Study from Chad
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1149; doi:10.3390/su8111149
Received: 11 August 2016 / Revised: 24 October 2016 / Accepted: 6 November 2016 / Published: 10 November 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (473 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Behavior that has changed following promotion campaigns is usually not maintained at its initial level. Psychosocial factors for initiating behavior are often not the same as for the continuation of health behaviors such as water treatment and are much less understood. Better knowledge
[...] Read more.
Behavior that has changed following promotion campaigns is usually not maintained at its initial level. Psychosocial factors for initiating behavior are often not the same as for the continuation of health behaviors such as water treatment and are much less understood. Better knowledge of factors for behavioral continuation would help to improve programs, both in the design of strategies for sustainable behavior change and by defining stronger criteria for the evaluation of sustainability. This study compared the mindsets of caregivers who continuously performed household drinking water treatment over time with individuals that stopped doing so in a population sample from Chad. Several factors from health psychology based on the Risks, Attitudes, Norms, Abilities, and Self-Regulation (RANAS) model were used to compare the two groups and examine their differing development. Normative factors such as others’ behavior, personal obligation, social support and discourse, perceived self-efficacy convictions, action control, and intention best discriminated between the two groups and developed significantly more positively over time for continuers of water treatment. These factors should be considered when designing future interventions intended to lead to sustainable behavior change. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Impact of Conditional Cash Transfer on Toilet Use in eThekwini, South Africa
Sustainability 2016, 8(10), 1070; doi:10.3390/su8101070
Received: 12 August 2016 / Revised: 15 October 2016 / Accepted: 18 October 2016 / Published: 22 October 2016
PDF Full-text (900 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
In the developing world, having access to a toilet does not necessarily imply use: infrequent or non-use limits the desired health outcomes of improved sanitation. We examine the sanitation situation in a rural part of South Africa where recipients of novel, waterless “urine-diverting
[...] Read more.
In the developing world, having access to a toilet does not necessarily imply use: infrequent or non-use limits the desired health outcomes of improved sanitation. We examine the sanitation situation in a rural part of South Africa where recipients of novel, waterless “urine-diverting dry toilets” are not regularly using them. In order to determine if small, conditional cash transfers (CCT) could motivate families to use their toilets more, we paid for urine via different incentive-based interventions: two were based on volumetric pricing and the third was a flat-rate payment (irrespective of volume). A flat-rate payment (approx. €1) resulted in the highest rates of regular (weekly) participation at 59%. The low volumetric payment (approx. €0.05/L) led to regular participation rates of only 12% and no increase in toilet use. The high volumetric payment (approx. €0.1/L) resulted in lower rates of regular participation (35%), but increased the average urine production per household per day by 74%. As a first example of conditional cash transfers being used in the sanitation sector, we show that they are an accepted and effective tool for increasing toilet use, while putting small cash payments in the hands of poor, largely unemployed populations in rural South Africa. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Adopters and Non-Adopters of Low-Cost Household Latrines: A Study of Corbelled Pit Latrines in 15 Districts of Malawi
Sustainability 2016, 8(10), 917; doi:10.3390/su8100917
Received: 19 July 2016 / Revised: 1 September 2016 / Accepted: 5 September 2016 / Published: 27 September 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (813 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Sustainable Development Goals will challenge low- and middle-income settings to look at new approaches for rural sanitation. In 2013, Mzuzu University, in partnership with United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Malawi, started a low-cost latrine program in rural areas using the corbelled latrine
[...] Read more.
The Sustainable Development Goals will challenge low- and middle-income settings to look at new approaches for rural sanitation. In 2013, Mzuzu University, in partnership with United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Malawi, started a low-cost latrine program in rural areas using the corbelled latrine design supported by locally owned sustainable businesses. The objective of this work was to trace customers (early household adopters) and non-customers through field observations and interviews in 15 districts of Malawi. The research team spent 193 personnel work days in data collection and found 21 households as adopters in 7 districts. Most respondents had a preference with regard to the design of the sanitation facility they would like to use. Although sharing of sanitation facilities was common, the corbelled latrine is promoted as a single household pit latrine design. Unfortunately, 8% (23/304) of non-adopters responded they practiced open defecation. Households were satisfied with the corbelled latrine design, and no latrine was found to have collapsed during field visits. To promote the corbelled latrine in Malawi, the following are recommended: (1) education of frontline government extension workers towards non-subsidized household latrines; (2) identification of rural low-income households as the best target for potential adopters; and (3) linkage of low-cost sanitation technologies to community mobilization campaigns led by the government, such as Community Led Total Sanitation. Full article
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Open AccessCase Report Solid Waste Management in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam: Moving towards a Circular Economy?
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 286; doi:10.3390/su9020286
Received: 30 November 2016 / Revised: 7 February 2017 / Accepted: 9 February 2017 / Published: 17 February 2017
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Abstract
The paper presents the current situation of the waste management system of the megacity Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam, and the options for waste and land recycling in a low income country. Generally, there is a large potential for circular economy in the
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The paper presents the current situation of the waste management system of the megacity Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam, and the options for waste and land recycling in a low income country. Generally, there is a large potential for circular economy in the city as the main proportion of the waste flows are recyclables. Due to the missing selective collection system, this potential is not used in the full extend yet, even if the collection of the entire waste volumes is envisaged in the National Waste Management Strategy by 2025. The waste stocks are the landfill locations in the region of Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), two of them being in operation and two of them already being closed. A special focus is given to the landfill Gò Cát, which was subject to an option analysis in terms of waste and land recycling options. The results indicate that there are several reuse options: the use of the landfill material in a waste-to-energy process after landfill mining, the reuse of the re-gained land in case of landfill mining, the reuse of the capped landfill for energy crop cultivation, and the gasification in a biogas plant in case of a remaining landfill. Full article
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