Wastewater is call wastewater that has been use for domestic, industrial, health, livestock, agriculture or any other human activity. Therefore, they contain solid or dissolve polluting wastes such as chemicals, detergents, plastics, heavy metals, as well as organic debris such as feces and urine. But, beyond that and as a consequence of the lack of efficient sanitation and disinfection mechanisms before they return to nature again , “wastewater is a source of infection because it contains feces, medical waste, agricultural pesticides and potentially chemical substances.
Above all, in scenarios where “as a direct consequence of conflicts, those who move often settle in areas where they have no other way of accessing water than through contaminate resources,” explains Alcalde. Work in the settlements of the Bekaa Valley for the correct treatment of wastewater
CONSEQUENCES OF THE CONSUMPTION OF WASTEWATER OR NOT TREATED EFFICIENTLY
If we take into account that around 80% of wastewater produce by human activities returns to the environment without prior treatment and that around 380,000 million cubic meters are produce annually worldwide , it is evident that its negative effects on the ecosystem and health are extremely broad: Every year 361,000 boys and girls under the age of five die from the consumption of untreat water.
Consuming water contaminate with excrement puts some 1.8 billion people at risk of cholera, diarrhea, polio or dysentery each year. Diarrhea from drinking unsafe water is the cause of at least 502,000 deaths a year . It is estimate that in the world one child dies every 90 seconds due to the inaccessibility of drinking water. In 80% of households without running water, girls and women take over the collection activities . The deficient treatment of black and gray water affects the vulnerable population above all and is one of the elements that serves to accentuate the humanitarian crisis situation . Well disinfection and water point chlorination process in Barangay Amayong, Philippines.
WASTEWATER AND REFUGEE SETTLEMENTS
These figures are especially alarming in territories in conflict and refugee settlements , where access to safe water treat with efficient purification systems is extremely difficult. Just to mention one case, Lucía Villa mayor, manager of the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene projects of Action Against Hunger in Zahle (Lebanon) declares that “after 15 years of civil war (1975-1990),
is a country that lacks of basic water connections for 20% of its population. The networks are unreliable and only 8% of the wastewater is treat effectively ”. However, there are at least 1.5 million refugees shelter from the crisis in Syria. Therefore, the number of people who are responsible for ensuring access to an effective wastewater management system and consequently the supply of drinking water has increase by 30%.
Every year 361,000 boys and girls under the age of five die from the consumption of untreat water. As a result, the situation has worsen and unsanitary conditions characterize refugee settlements . In addition, after years of the Syrian conflict, informal settlements have emerge where refugees are treat with emergency measures. Villamayor argues that “wastewater accumulates mainly in tanks and blind wells, which require frequent and expensive collection services, although they also end up at discharge points where they are not treat at all.
In many settlements the collection services are not enough and the sewage overflows next to the latrines ”. The deficient treatment of sewage and gray water mainly affects the vulnerable population and those in refugee status
THE NEED FOR ACCESS TO CLEAN WATER IN REFUGEE SETTLEMENTS
In Action Against Hunger we have undertaken various tasks that have benefite more than 1,500 refugees in the settlements of the Bekah Valley, where cases of black and gray water ponding were very common. Lucía Villa mayor explains that “to solve this, we connect the stores to an improve septic tank, which treats and cleans the wastewater. The treat, pathogen-free water is infiltrate into the ground with the help of an irrigation pipe system that subsequently discharges into a large gravel-fill trench. This makes it possible to increase the absorption capacity of the soil. No more cases of sewage ponding have been detect where it has been implement ”,
Lucía Villa mayor. Face with this limiting and compromising scenario for refugees, it is necessary to take creative, innovative and sustainable actions that aim not only to mitigate health risks and improve sanitary conditions in the settlements, but also provide optimal and respectful treatment of our resources natural, and the reduction of costs in collection services.