Towards sustainable sanitation in slum areas

by Emma Larsson

Institution: Linköping University
Year: 2013
Keywords: Sustainable Sanitation; Mumbai; Field Study; Product Development; Sanitary Techniques; Sanitary Situation; India; Slum Residents; Slum Areas; Sanitation; Engineering and Technology; Mechanical Engineering; Teknik och teknologier; Maskinteknik; Maskinkonstruktion; Machine Design
Record ID: 1343478
Full text PDF: http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-96362


Globally, there are 2.5 billion people who do not have access to improved sanitation. One third of these people are living in India. Bad sanitation is both undignified and causes the spread of diseases like diarrhoea. It is a large challenge to handle the problematic situation with sanitation, especially in urban areas. Sustainable sanitary systems that are energy self-sufficient and do not require sewage system are needed. There are new techniques with this in mind that are under development. The aim of this thesis is to investigate the possibilities to implement a sustainable sanitary system in slum areas of Mumbai. The chosen area and existing sanitary techniques is investigated in the literature study. To understand the user requirements and their living situation, a field study is performed in slum areas of Mumbai. Interviews are held with experts from organisations working with the sanitary situation in the area to get a deeper understanding about their experiences. The sanitary situation today is not well functioning, a new way of solving the problem is needed and it has to happen soon. Through an analysis of the empirical findings, three different sanitary situations are presented. It is important that each area is investigated to identify what situation there is, before building new sanitary facilities. To achieve a more sustainable sanitation, one system for each of the three situations should be developed. Requirements for each of the situations are presented and they all have two things in common, the toilet is shared between a determined amount of people and the user has the responsibility for the maintenance. From a cross mapping between the investigated sanitary techniques and the requirements for the three situations, it is clarified what techniques that are suitable in which context. No one of the investigated techniques is a perfect match and further development is needed. One of the sanitary situations is taken further through concept development. The concepts are compared against the requirements to identify the best concept. The best concept with modifications is visualised to exemplify how it may be designed. In the comparison between the requirements and concepts, gaps in the design and issues for further development are identified. The core of this master thesis is to emphasise the importance of having a holistic approach concerning the sanitary situation. It is important that new techniques are being developed with a close connection to the users and the specific environment. By investing money in more sustainable systems, the situation for the slum residents in Mumbai can be improved and at the same time contribute to a more sustainable society.