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EcoSanRes (Ecological Sanitation Research) is an international environment and development programme on ecological sanitation. It has its roots in the pioneering SanRes programme which ran from 1993 to 2002. It is sponsored by the Sida, managed by Stockholm Environment Institute with Akkadia Environment, SwedEnviro and Vatema, with a world network of 20 organisations. Ecological Sanitation (EcoSan) is an approach that offers many advantages over and above sanitation provision, an otherwise much neglected issue.
Ecological sanitation is aimed at closing the nutrient and water cycles. Ecosan prescribes that human excreta along with household organics are sanitised and the resulting plant nutrients are reused in agricultural production in the proximity of human settlements. Water from the households’ showers/baths and kitchen, i.e. greywater, undergoes treatment and can subsequently safely be re-cycled. Ecosan proposes sanitation that limits the use of water as a means of disposal. This is a particular advantage since water shortage affects more than 80 countries and 40% of humanity. In contrast, water based sanitation discharges of untreated sewage into rivers and other bodies of water represent a severe problem around the world with 90% of towns and cities in developing countries lacking sewage treatment. In 2001 only 80 out of 550 large European Union cities had advanced/tertiary treatment. Another acute problem is contaminated sludge from conventional treatment facilities making it impossible to reuse.
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