Small-Scale Wastewater Treatment Systems for 3 Markets: USAID Philippine Sanitation Alliance Projects in the Philippines

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Lack of access to improved sanitation and lack of sanitation treatment infrastructure is a major issue facing the Philippines and other Southeast Asian countries. 2008 data estimated that 24% of the Philippine population still did not have access to personal improved sanitation, 15% of which rely on shared sanitary facilities and 9% of which rely on open defecation or the use of unimproved sanitation. Given the large population of the Philippines, this means that around 10 million Filipinos still defecate in the open on a daily basis, with serious consequences to their local environment and their health, dignity, and human development. In addition, even those people that have access to improved sanitation are very likely using a ‘basic’ form of improved sanitation – such as a septic tank-connected toilet – since only 4% of the country’s residents/businesses are connected to a sewerage system with proper treatment. Since septic tanks, even at their very best, do not in themselves provide adequate wastewater treatment, this means that the Philippines is grappling with a serious problem of groundwater and surface water pollution, with all of the resulting health consequences that this entails. It is estimated that 55 Filipinos die every day as a result of poor sanitation and that it poses economic losses exceeding $1.4 billion yearly.

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