COVID-19: A turning point to further sanitation justice?

Adriana Allen, Pascale Hofmann, Nelly Leblond, Julian Walker, Wilbard Kombe, Claudy Vouhé, Robin Bloch, Braima Koroma, Colin Marx, Sulaiman Foday Kamara, Georgina Montserrat Petit, Tim Ndezi, Sandra de Castro Roque, Catarina Simões Mavila, Ibrahim Bakarr Bangura, Festo Dominic Makoba, Ilundi Polonia Cabral, Richard Prosper

Abstract


Sanitation has received increased attention during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the heterogeneity of infrastructures, investments, practices and needs that exist on the ground, have often been overlooked. Consequently, the intersecting inequalities shaping how COVID-19 and sanitation interact remain unaddressed. This paper suggests it is possible to move beyond ‘deficit narratives’, and to support pathways towards just sanitation for all women and men, girls and boys during and beyond the pandemic. Tracking down past, ongoing and projected sanitary arrangements, exploring the political economy of both grid and off-grid investments and promises, and paying attention to the diversity of needs and practices from an intersectional perspective that considers, among other things, class, gender, age, ethnicity and ability, are three directions to do so. Together, these three directions can account for how illness or health, poverty or prosperity, suffering or well-being, stigma or respect are generated for different people who are dependent on, or who are providing, sanitation services. COVID-19 marks a turning point to critically reframe how we talk and act upon just sanitation and to challenge long-term inequalities.


Keywords


gendered sanitation trajectories; urban Africa; Intersectionality; wastewater; epidemiology; COVID-19

Full Text:

PDF

References


Ahmed R., Yesmin K. (2008). Menstrual hygiene : breaking the silence in: Beyond Construction use by all, a collection of case studies from sanitation and hygiene promotion practitioners in South Asia. IRC. p.283-287.

Allen A., Koroma B., Manda M., Osuteye E., Lambert R. (2019). “Urban risk readdressed: Bridging resilience seeking practices in African cities.” In: Burayidi M.A., Allen A., Twigg J., Wamsler C. (eds.) The Routledge Handbook of Urban Resilience. London: Routledge

Barlow M., (2017). Finally facing our water-loo: it’s time to decolonise sewerage systems. [online] Available at: https://theconversation.com/finally-facing-our-water-loo-its-time-to-decolonise-sewerage-systems-78095 [Accessed 18 July 2020].

BBC (2020). Coronavirus: Kenyan boy who made hand-washing machine awarded. [online] Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-52898797 [Accessed 20 July 2020].

Black M., Fawcett K. (2008). The Last Taboo: Opening the Door on the Global Sanitation Crisis. Earthscan Publications Ltd, London, UK, and Sterling, VA, USA. p.224. ISBN: 978-1-84407-544-7

Chakravorty A. (2020). Fighting from the bottom, India’s sanitation workers are also frontline workers battling Covid. [online] Available at: https://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-sanitation-workers-waste-pickers-coronavirus-pandemic-6414446/ [Accessed 15 July 2020].

Duti V. (2020). A complex WASH sector could hamper Ghana’s fight against COVID-19. [online] Available at: https://www.devex.com/news/opinion-a-complex-wash-sector-could-hamper-ghana-s-fight-against-covid-19-97396 [Accessed 20 July 2020].

Farkas K., Hillary L.S., Malham S.K., McDonald J.E., Jones D.L. (2020). Wastewater and public health: the potential of wastewater surveillance for monitoring COVID-19. Current Opinion in Environmental Science & Health, Volume 17, 2020, Pages 14-20, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.coesh.2020.06.001.

Gormley M., Aspray T. J., Kelly D. A. (2020). COVID-19: mitigating transmission via wastewater plumbing systems. Lancet Global Health, 8(5), e643. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(20)30112-1

Gunther I., Horst A., Lüthi C., Mosler H-J., Niwagaba C., Tumwebaze I. (2012). When is shared sanitation improved sanitation? The correlation between number of users and toilet hygiene. https://doi.org/10.13140/RG.2.2.10422.09288.

Hanlon J. (2020). Covid-19: looking nervously over the border. Mozambique News Reports & Clippings number 494, 9 July 2020, edited by Joseph Hanlon. [online] Available at: http://www.open.ac.uk/technology/mozambique/news-reports-clippings-2020

Hart O.E., Halden R.U. (2020). Computational analysis of SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 surveillance by wastewater-based epidemiology locally and globally: Feasibility, economy, opportunities and challenges. Science of The Total Environment, Volume 730, 2020, http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969720323925

Hofmann P. (2017). Multi-layered Trajectories of Water and Sanitation Poverty in Dar es Salaam. In: Bell S., Allen A., Hofmann P., Teh TH. (eds) Urban Water Trajectories. Future City, vol 6. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-42686-0_7

Horton R. (2020). Offline: COVID-19 is not a pandemic. The lancet, Volume 396, ISSUE 10255, P874, September 26, 2020, https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)32000-6

INKWASH (2020). Women Leaders Water & Environmental Sanitation – Vol 1 [online] Available at: https://inkwash.in/women-leaders-water-environmental-sanitation-vol-1/ p.100

Kumbhare S. (2020). Sanitation Workers: At the Bottom of the Frontline Against COVID-19? [online] Available at: https://thewire.in/urban/sanitation-workers-covid-19 [Accessed 15 July 2020].

Li YY, Wang JX, Chen X. (2020). Can a toilet promote virus transmission? From a fluid dynamics perspective. Phys Fluids (1994). 2020;32(6):065107. https://doi:10.1063/5.0013318.

Parikh P. & Diep L., Hofmann P., Tomei J., Campos L., The T-H., Mulugetta Y., Milligan B., Lakhanpaul M. (2020). Synergies and Trade-offs between Sanitation and the Sustainable Development Goals. UCL Open: Environment. https://doi.org/10.14324/111.444/000054.v1.

Quilliam R.S., Weidmann M., Moresco V., Purshouse H., O'Hara Z., Oliver D.M. (2020). COVID-19: The environmental implications of shedding SARS-CoV-2 in human faeces. Environment International, Volume 140, July 2020, 105790, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2020.105790

Social Justice Coalition (2014). Our toilets are dirty. Report of the social audit into the Janitorial service for communal flush toilets in Khayelitsha, Cape Town. p.29. [online] Available at: https://sjc.org.za/resources/publications [Accessed 30 July 2020].

Street R., Malema S., Mahlangeni N., Mathee A. (2020). Wastewater surveillance for Covid-19: An African perspective, Science of The Total Environment, Volume 743, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.140719.

Thompson J.A., Gaskin S.J., Agbor M. (2017). Embodied intersections: Gender, water and sanitation in Cameroon, Agenda, 31:1, 140-155, https://doi.org/10.1080/10130950.2017.1341158

Trottier J., Darques R., Ait Mouheb N., Partiot E., Bakhache W., Deffieu M.S., Gaudin R. (2020). Post-lockdown detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in the wastewater of Montpellier. One Health, Volume 10, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.onehlt.2020.100157

UNICEF (2020). Mitigating the Impacts of COVID-19 on Menstrual Health and Hygiene. [online] Available at: https://www.unicef.org/documents/mitigating-impacts-covid-19-menstrual-health-and-hygiene [Accessed 10 July 2020].

UNICEF and WHO (2017). Progress on drinking water, sanitation and hygiene: 2017 update and SDG baselines. Geneva. World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund, p.110. Available at: https://www.unicef.org/publications/index_96611.html

WHO (2019). Sanitation – Key facts. [online] https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/sanitation [Accessed 4 July 2020].

WHO (2020). Transmission of SARS-CoV-2: implications for infection prevention precautions (Updated 9 July 2020). [online] Available at: https://www.who.int/news-room/commentaries/detail/transmission-of-sars-cov-2-implications-for-infection-prevention-precautions

WHO and UNICEF (2015). Sanitation facts [online] https://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/monitoring/coverage/sanitation2017-930px.jpg?ua=1 [Accessed 4 July 2020].

Xu Y., Li X., Zhu B., Liang H., Fang C., Gong Y., Guo Q., Sun X., Zhao D., Shen J., Zhang H., Liu H., Xia H., Tang J., Zhang K. & Gong S. (2020). Characteristics of pediatric SARS-CoV-2 infection and potential evidence for persistent fecal viral shedding. Nature Medicine volume 26, p. 502–505. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41591-020-0817-4


Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


Copyright (c) 2021 Allen Adriana, Pascale Hofmann, Nelly Leblond, Julian Walker, Wilbard Kombe, Claudy Vouhé, Robin Bloch, Braima Koroma, Colin Marx, Sulaiman Foday Kamara, Georgina Montserrat Petit, Tim Ndezi, Sandra de Castro Roque, Catarina Simões Mavila

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.