PBB mengumumkan bahwa pada 20 Maret di seluruh dunia dilakukan berbagai kegiatan untuk memperingati World Water Day 2008. Apa ya yang dilakukan di Indonesia? Kita lebih tau kegiatan para artis dan politikus… tanya kenapa.
Pada 22 Maret 2005 diproklamirkan dekade air internasional: Water for Life 2005-2015, mengajak negara-negara anggota PBB untuk melaksanakan komitmen mengurangi hingga separuh, jumlah mereka yang tidak memiliki akses untuk air minum, dan menghentikan eksploitasi air yang tidak berkelanjutan.
Untuk tahun 2008, PBB mencanangkannya sebagai Tahun Sanitasi Internasional. Karena tidak tahu apa yang disodorkan Kementrian/Dinas kita tentang Tahun Internasional ini, maka di sini dilampirkan ringkasan 10 hal tentang sanitasi yang disebarluaskan oleh PBB.
Jika perhatian kita terhadap sampah sudah kita ketahui, bagaimana dengan urusan “invisible sampah” ini, ya?
10 Things You Need to Know About Sanitation
1. What do we mean by “sanitation”?
• safe collection, storage, treatment and disposal/re-use/recycling of human excreta (faeces and urine);
• management/re-use/recycling of solid wastes (trash or rubbish);
• drainage and disposal/re-use/recycling of household wastewater (often referred to as sullage or grey water);
• drainage of storm water ;
• treatment and disposal/re-use/recycling of sewage effluents;
• collection and management of industrial waste products; and
• management of hazardous wastes (including hospital wastes, and chemical/ radioactive and other dangerous substances).
2. Why focus on sanitation?
Poorly controlled waste also means an unpleasant environment, not just a human risk, other species are affected, threatening the ecological balance of the environment :
• By polluting drinking water;
• Entry into the food chain, e.g. via fruits, vegetables or fish and shellfish;
• Bathing, recreational and other contact with contaminated waters;
• By providing breeding sites for flies and insects that spread diseases;
3. What is the size of the problem?
4 out of 10 people around the world have no access to improved sanitation, with a serious risk of exposure to sanitation-related diseases. A huge effort needs to be made quickly to expand sanitation coverage to the level of 75%. Investing involves a long project cycle, innovative approaches need to be developed to reduce the time span from policymaking to services delivery. In some developing regions only one out of two people has access to some sort of improved sanitation facility.
4. What diseases are associated with poor sanitation?
Cholera, typhoid, infectious hepatitis, polio, cryptosporidiosis, and ascariasis. WHO (2004) estimates that about 1.8 million people die annually from diarrhoeal diseases (90% are children under five) mostly in developing countries.
Schistosomiasis (sometimes called bilharziasis) —ranks second behind malaria— is endemic in 74 developing countries, infecting more than 200 million people.
Ascariasis is found worldwide with greatest frequency in tropical and subtropical regions causes 60,000 deaths per year, mainly children.
Trematode infections are endemic in Asia, excreta and nightsoil are directly added to ponds, rivers, or lakes. More than 40 million people are infected and over 10% of the global population is at risk of trematode infection.
Trachoma is the leading global cause of preventable blindness, one of the best examples of an infection readily preventable through basic hygiene. 6 million people are permanently blind due to Trachoma which is spread by a combination of:
• poor sanitation, allowing the flies that spread the infection to breed;
• poor hygiene associated with water scarcity and poor water quality;
• lack of education and understanding of how easily the infection can spread in the home and between people.
Infectious agents are not only wastewater and excreta. Heavy metals, toxic organic and inorganic substances also can pose serious threats to human health and the environment – particularly when industrial wastes are added to the waste stream. Iin some parts of China, irrigation with wastewater contaminated with industrial waste, have produced enlargement of the liver, cancers and congenital malformation, compared to areas where wastewater was not used for irrigation.
Nitrates from wastewater can build up to high concentrations in water sources underground, associated with blue-baby-syndrome when contaminated water is used. Nutrients may cause undesirable excess in water sources, overgrowth of algae and harmful cyanobacteria with toxins cause a range of health effects, from skin irritation to liver damage.
5. How does sanitation prevent disease?
• Isolate the user from their own excreta;
• Prevent nuisance organisms (e.g. flies) from contacting the excreta and subsequently transmitting disease to humans; and
• Inactivate the pathogens before they enter the environment or prevent the excreta from entering the environment.
Sanitation protecting the household, the community and ‘society’. In the case of latrines the sanitation system acts at a household level, poor design or location lead to contamination of local water supplies putting the community at risk. Health effects and environmental damage affecting ‘society’.
6. What are the options for controlling excreta?
For practical purposes can be divided into on-site and off-site technologies. On-site systems (e.g. latrines), store and/or treat excreta at the point of generation. Off-site systems (e.g. sewerage) excreta is transported to another location for treatment, disposal or use.
On-site systems. Include: ventilated-improved-pit latrines, double vault composting latrines, pour-flush toilets, and septic tanks. Eco-sanitation requires the separation of urine and faeces. Building and operating these systems is often much less expensive than off-site alternatives. Septic tanks or latrines require sludge to be pumped out and treated off-site. After treatment, composting latrines will be used as a fertilizer.
Off-site disposal. Conventional centralized sewerage systems require an elaborate infrastructure and large amounts of water to carry the wastes away. The cost can be 70 times more expensive. In specific circumstances, have been developed small diameter gravity sewers, vacuum and pressure sewers, successfully used in Brazil, Ghana and other countries.
Wastewater and Excreta Treatment. Removing or inactivating pathogens before reused or disposed of safely. Many on-site methods treat excreta by storing it for enough time to kill the pathogens. Most off-site systems require to be treated at a facility before used or released into the environment, some use mechanical and biological processes that demanding substances and other pollutants. Pathogens and nutrients are typically only minimally removed in these processes. The problem is they are expensive to operate (energy, skilled labour, infrastructure, maintenance) and requires additional processes, which pushes up the cost still further.
In Durban, local sewerage networks have been connected to small treatment plants to cost-effectively treat more waste. In other areas, waste stabilization ponds have proven to be cost effective methods.
7. What is the economic costs of sanitation?
The health impact leads to financial and economic costs including direct medical costs, lost income, reduced or lost productivity, costs of providing health services from government. Also leads to time and effort losses, lower product quality, reduced income from tourism, and clean up costs. In female literacy contribute to economic growth.
Every dollar spent on improving sanitation generates economic benefits 9 times that far exceed the required sanitation investments.
The cost of inaction would $66 billion through time, productivity, averted illness and death. A 10 year increase in average life expectancy at birth will be a rise of 0.3-0.4% in economic growth per year.
8. How does sanitation affect the environment?
In some regions sewage flows directly into streams, rivers, lakes and wetlands, affecting coastal and marine ecosystems, fouling the environment and exposing millions of children to disease. Domestic wastewater, sewage and solid waste improperly discharged presents a variety of disease to air, water and soil pollution.
Poor waste management contribute to a loss of valuable biodiversity. Urban and industrial waste and sewage dumped directly into the ocean or carried by river systems from sources upstream, increase the level of nitrogen in seawater. Improved sanitation reduces environmental burdens, increases sustainability of environmental resources and allows for a healthier, more secure future for the population.
9. What are the reasons for slow progress on sanitation?
Many do not realize the economic benefits to the individual, the community and to society from improving sanitation. There are so many other pressing needs for the attention: food supply, education, medical treatment. They are aware that sanitation has a health impact, not aware of the extent of ill-health that it causes.
On the other hand, human society has developed very different sociocultural responses to the use of untreated excreta. In Africa, the Americas and Europe, excreta use is generally regarded as culturally unacceptable. These views are less rigid in the case of using excreta in compost and sludge for agriculture, but still pose a barrier to use of waste.
10. How can we achieve sanitation targets?
Action must start NOW. Households, communities, local and national governments, civil society, and private companies all need to work together. Media and public opinion around the world can influence political leaders to act now. The strategy for this year’s World Water Day is designed to increase substantive awareness, ideally leading to decisive actions in support of improved sanitation. Related communication also considers the media, since the media have excellent capacities to inform the population and guide their opinions.
Key areas of action:
making political commitments;
creating legislation and regulations;
bringing together resources, stronger institutions and better trained people;
culturally sensitive hygiene education;
right choice of technology – cost-effective and environment-friendly;
giving attention to gender and equity;
supporting small-scale entrepreneurs;
and MAKING INFORMATION FLOW !!