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This article is not a technical review or a design manual; several already exist. Rather, I attempt to consolidate the information available on several low-cost options. I also attempt to frame these low-cost options within the context of necessary considerations, primarily the need to ensure community acceptability, cost-effectiveness, and sustainability. With sanitation—even more so than with water supply—determining which option will be most effective requires weighing a complex set of variables ranging from culture and cost to geology and climate. Not only are these considerations important for efficacy and sustainability, but the lack of consideration of one variable in sanitation planning has the potential to cause serious damage to community health, exacerbating—rather than ameliorating— an already dangerous situation.


About the Author

Alicia Hope Herron

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Environmental Change and Security Program

The Environmental Change and Security Program (ECSP) explores the connections between environmental change, health, and population dynamics and their links to conflict, human insecurity, and foreign policy.  Read more