Enhancing faecal sludge management in peri-urban areas of Lusaka through faecal sludge valorisation: challenges and opportunities
Lusaka, the capital city of Zambia, has two million inhabitants with 70% residing in peri-urban areas. Ninety (90) % of this population employ pit latrines for excretion generating approximately 22,680 tons of faecal sludge per annum. This sludge is inadequately managed hence of the generated amount, over 60% remains within the residential environment thereby compromising both the environment and public health. To foster a solution to this problem, a study was commissioned to assess faecal sludge valorisation potential and how it would impact on Faecal Sludge Management. The study evaluated policy, institutional and regulatory frameworks, sanitation practices including latrine construction and usage aspects and also characterised the faecal sludge for selected parameters relevant to valorisation. Four peri-urban areas were adopted as study sites. Policy issues together with existing institutional and regulatory frameworks were assessed through literature review. Sanitation practices were evaluated through physical observations, focus group discussions, interviews and questionnaire administration. Faecal sludge characterisation was through sampling and analysis. It was observed that there are policy gaps in fostering faecal sludge valorisation. Sanitation practices and latrines construction also do not favour valorisation. The quality of the raw sludge has potential for valorisation though again, some parameters like solid waste content require drastic changes in sanitation practices in order not to compromise the reuse potential of the sludge. It was concluded that if faecal sludge management is to be enhanced through valorisation, there is need to have policies promoting pit latrine faecal sludge reuse and strengthened regulatory and institutional frameworks in this respect.