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This article discusses the environmental circumstances when pit latrines, although they are cheap, simple to operate, and easy to manage, are inappropriate for the disposal of human excreta in rapidly growing urban centres of developing countries, and sug

TitleWhy pit latrines fail : some environmental factors
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1994
AuthorsReed, R.
Paginationp. 5-7: 3 fig.,, 1 tab., 1 photogr.
Date Published1994-01-01
Keywordscase studies, design, groundwater pollution, infiltration, mauritius, pit latrines, surface water pollution
Abstract

This article discusses the environmental circumstances when pit latrines, although they are cheap, simple to operate, and easy to manage, are inappropriate for the disposal of human excreta in rapidly growing urban centres of developing countries, and suggests a mechanism for objective decision-making. It outlines, using a chart, the most common environmental factors likely to affect the viability of pit latrines; it gives a table suggesting safe infiltration rates for liquid wastes from pit latrines into different types of soil; and it discusses the effects of ground-water and surface-water pollution from pit latrines. The article concludes that due to consumer poverty and municipal underfunding, pit latrines, being the cheapest safe excreta-disposal system are most appropriate for family sanitation. However, since pit latrines often fail due to local environmental factors or the community's socio-economic conditions, it is essential when planning a new sanitation programme to decide if they are the best investment for sanitation.

Notes3 ref.
Custom 1244, 321.4

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