A Traditional Closed-Loop Sanitation System in a Chronic Emergency: A Qualitative Study from Afghanistan




Uddin, Sayed Mohammad Nazim
Lapegue, Jean
Gutberlet, Jutta
Adamowski, Jan Franklin
Dorea, Caetano C.
Sorezo, Federico

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The use of closed-loop sanitation systems (CLSS), or reuse-oriented sanitation systems, has increased in recent years, and such systems have been successfully implemented in many parts of the world. However, no research has explored Traditional CLSS (T-CLSS) for a long-term humanitarian situation. This study explores the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) of T-CLSS in peri-urban and rural contexts in three different provinces in Afghanistan (the first study of its kind in Afghanistan). Participatory research tools, such as transect walks, focus group discussions, smart community gatherings and interactive workshops, were applied to assess the SWOT associated with T-CLSS. The results indicate that T-CLSS has been practiced historically in both peri-urban and rural areas using local and traditional knowledge, skills and technologies. The socio-cultural acceptance of the system in both rural and peri-urban areas is an important strength of this established system. However, due to chronic development challenges in the study regions, T-CLSS may possibly lead to exposure to microbial contaminants. It is recommended that the feasibility of an improved CLSS be assessed and implemented in light of the issues that are inherent in the use of T-CLSS in Afghanistan.



closed-loop sanitation, rural, peri-urban, SWOT, chronic-emergency, participatory research, Afghanistan


Uddin, S.M.N., Lapegue, J., Gutberlet, J., Adamowski, J.F., Dorea, C.C. & Sorezo, F. (2019). A Traditional Closed-Loop Sanitation System in a Chronic Emergency: A Qualitative Study from Afghanistan. Water, 11(2), 298. https://doi.org/10.3390/w11020298