Water, sanitation & hygiene (WASH)

Water, sanitation and hygiene intimately connect health with environment. Water sources must be clean and sustainable. Waste and sanitation must be dealt with in a way that does not negatively impact the environment or else human health is at risk. A polluted or degraded environment such as waste in waterways makes safe hygiene nearly impossible. Sustainable WASH programs involving compost toilets and other technologies can be cost-effective, sustainable, compliment agricultural practices and ensure good human health.

GuidelinesBack to top


Integrating Critical Environmental Issues into WASH Cluster Activities (CARE)

Report maps the environment in the WASH cluster, documents the gaps, and makes recommendations for WASH cluster and links to other clusters. Topics include disposal of water treatment wastes, reducing the environmental impacts of disaster wastes, recycling and re-use of waste materials and reducing the environmental impacts of vector control chemicals in emergencies. Project Coordinator Jock Baker, CARE International:



Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Cluster Coordination Handbook
(Global WASH Cluster 2009)

Handbook discusses environmental issues and concerns as it explains different WASH programs and technical approaches. Environmental indicators are included and directly linked to human health.



Excreta Disposal in Emergencies: A Field Manual (UNICEF 2007)

Manual offers technical guidance on different methods for disposal and applies to different phases of disaster or conflict. Some environmental considerations in assessment section, but no environmental criterion for selecting particular technologies, p 42. Presentation and training also available.



UD Toilets and Composting Toilets in Emergencies (Oxfam)

Guide explains criteria for choosing urine diversion and composting toilets, including diagrams and explanations for construction, operation and maintenance.



Waste Management in Minimal Situations (WHO and ProAct)

Technical guidelines for waste possibilities applicable to emergency situations.  Leaves out obvious linkages to environment, though if guidelines followed, environment will see fewer negative impacts.

ToolsBack to top


Technical Drawings Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSana)

Website includes technical drawings for biogas plant, constructed wetland, decentralised wastewater treatment, low flush toilets and urine diversion dehydration toilet systems.  Some technology may be appropriate to emergency situations.



Sustainable Sanitation for Emergencies and Reconstruction Situations (SuSana 2009)

Fact sheet includes appropriate sanitation technologies for different phases of a humanitarian response that are environmentally sustainable, culturally appropriate and take into account different vulnerable group needs.

Case studiesBack to top


Ecological Sanitation in Earthquake Area (SuSana and Clean Water Alliances)

Presentation explores a pilot programme of engaging the community in establishing ecologically safe latrines and toilets during the reconstruction period.



Case Studies Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSana)

Detailed case studies of different technologies around the globe in various contexts. Most are examples in development, but technology and project goals can be applied to emergency situations.



World Wide Project List and Project Descriptions for EcoSan
and Sustainable Sanitation Projects

Website lists country, date, type of project and context and number of users for Ecosan projects around the world. Most cases are in the development sector, but the technology and approaches may apply to some emergency situations.

ResourcesBack to top


Innovations in Emergency Situations: Sanitation (SuSana)

Workshop minutes discuss how the humanitarian sector intersects with development in finding sustainable, quick solutions. Lists lessons learned, challenges, potential solutions, technical solutions.



Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSana): Working Group on Sustainable
Sanitation in Emergencies and Reconstruction Situations

Group tries to mainstream environment into WASH cluster by establishing a network, mapping, fact sheet, best practices, strategies to implement in clusters, and ToRs to move forward.



Association Toilettes Du Monde

Website offers sustainable toilet options that could be applied to humanitarian setting.



WASH Cluster Learning Google Group

Website contains mission evaluations with challenges, successes, weaknesses and lessons learned. Environment seems to be lacking, but the forum may be an access point for staff to raise the issues.