Speaker: Buddha Bajracharya
A survey was carried out in of 5 municipalities to understand perception of people towards Fecal Sludge Management. Results showed that mechanical emptying is choice of preference in areas of terai region where road accessibility is not a problem whereas manual emptying is more prevalent in hilly region. Private entrepreneurs are choice of preference for emptying purpose. Open disposal of Fecal sludge is the common practice for FSM. In contrast, people would rather prefer proper treatment of Fecal sludge in treatment plant if existed. This urges for construction of Fecal Sludge Treatment Plants at Municipal level for safe urban sanitation.
Proper Fecal Sludge Management is essential to ensure the safely management sanitation services and to realizing the National SDG 6.2 target. About 70% of urban households in Nepal rely on Non-Sewered Sanitation Systems. It is therefore essential to understand the perception of people towards existing FSM services that will aid in design contextual and vial FSM service delivery models. Under the project “Municipalities Network Advocacy on Sanitation in South Asia (MuNASS)”, a study was carried out to understand the current status of Non Sewerage Systems and people’s perception, knowledge and practices on FSM in 5 municipalities of Nepal (Lahan, Dhulikhel, Waling, Lamahi and Bheemdatt Municipality).
The sample size for the survey was determined by using Cochran formula at the confidence level of 95% assuming 50% of the proportion of the population should have some sanitation characteristics that need to be studied and at sampling error of ±5%. A random household survey was conducted using mobile application “KOBOCOLLECT”. The total samples from 5 municipalities were 1,871 (Lahan: 376, Dhulikhel: 364, Waling: 377, Lamahi: 375, Bheemdatt: 379).
There was significant difference in preference towards manual and mechanical emptying in all 5 municipalities. 17% of households in Lahan preferred manual emptying in contrast to 70% households in Waling. Similarly, 30% of the households in Waling preferred mechanical emptying as compared to 83% households in Lahan. Road access is one of the main factors determining the preference of emptying services. Municipalities at Terai region such as Lahan, Lamahi and Bheemdatt with better road access prefer mechanical emptying as compared to manual emptying, which is more preferred in hilly region with lesser road access such as Waling and Dhulikhel.
In terms of means of emptying, there was quiet variance among all the municipalities. Contacting private entrepreneurs was most preferred option in Lahan (58%), Lamahi (47%) and Bheemdatt (35%) as private entrepreneurs providing desludging services are easily available. Due to lack of access to road, self-emptying was choice of majority households in Dhulikhel (45%) and Waling (38%).
Majority of the households in Lahan (40%), Dhulikhel (51%), Lamahi (62%) and Bheemdatt (63%) believed that collected fecal sludge are applied in the farm. In contrast as high as 36% in Waling deemed that fecal sludge are safely transported and managed in treatment plant. This contradicts with real scenario as open disposal of FS is widely practices due to absence of FSTP in those municipalities.
Complementing all the perceptions, majority of households from all the municipalities urged for the construction of fecal sludge treatment plant at municipal level for the better management of fecal sludge. Most of the respondents stated that strict laws should be regulated and penalty system should be implemented to stop haphazard disposal of FS. Some respondents perceived the on-site resue of FS could be encouraged in managing FS safely.
Thus, majority of the people’s perception in the study indicates need of proper FSM in their municipalities. In the study, most of the respondents in Terai region preferred the mechanical emptying services due to easy road access. Therefore, the municipalities in Terai region should take it into consideration while hilly region still needs to explore alternatives while planning for FSM services. Similarly, most people preferred private entrepreneurs for emptying services as they are easy to contact and hence the municipalities should encourage involvement of private sector in FSM. Majority of the households' perceived that currently FS are disposed directly to the farmland which depicts that design of FSTP should comply with generating compost/fertilizers as end products. It is important to understand the existing gap between current practices and their expectation so that it not only meets the demand but also prevents environment pollution and outbreak of possible diseases. Concerned authority at municipal level should be strengthened in terms of knowledge, information and technicality so that appropriate structure can be designed and developed which makes it possible for providing better services, ultimately leading better FSM.
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