You should be: it is an environmental health risk if not treated and disposed of on our surface water and land. But well managed it is also a source of energy and fertilizer.
The Department of Water Supply and Sewerage (DWSS) inaugurated a national Workshop on Fecal Sludge Management in the presence of the Hon. Minister of Urban Development Dr. Narayan Khadka today in Kathmandu.
In the context of increasing challenges in this area, the few waste water management plants that were once functional in Kathmandu Valley are hardly operational and have been overtaken by urbanization.
The situation in other parts of the country is not much better, with most towns not yet having reasonable (central) treatment facilities. Some do exist, as in Hetauda and Pokhara, but all are suffering from financing and management problems.
Nepal is the most rapidly urbanizing country in South Asian region - the urban population is estimated to have increased to 38.5% now from 17% in 2011. As per census 2011, 30% of urban population has toilets connected to sewer system while 48% have septic tanks.
Recently, the number of municipalities has been increased to 191 (2014) from 58(2011). Thus urgent action is needed to equip the urban setting with management systems for emptying, collection, transportation, and treatment of fecal sludge to avoid that sludge from the septic tanks and wastewater are either dumped randomly into nearby rivers or on marginal land without any treatment.
The ongoing workshop aims to develop an action plan for fecal sludge management. The plan will be included in the Sector Development Plan (SDP).
The Workshop is receiving technical support from CDD/BORDA, SNV Bangladesh, EAWAG and the Gates Foundation, and undertaken as part of the Third Small Town water Supply and Sanitation Project, co-financed by the ADB.
Text and Photo by: Han Heijnen, FSM value chain above: after EAWAG 2008