Urban planning and sprawl crisis in Africa: ecological sanitation as a viable policy option
Ndung'u, Abraham G.
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Rapid urban growth is a common phenomenon the world over,particularly in the developing countries. Africa is no exception in this respect. Lack of affordable housing in African towns has pushed most people into the peri-urban areas. These new settlement areas, often hitherto agricultural lands, are normally unplanned. "Development", therefore, seems toprogress ahead of planners instead of the other way round. By implication, therefore, these periurban areas often lack vital services necessary for human settlement such as proper sanitation, particularly human excreta disposal. In these areas the most affordable and therefore most common method of human excreta disposal is the use of pit latrines. In few homes, however, isolated cases of use of cesspits and septic tanks can befound. In comparison with conventional methods of human excreta disposal, ecological sanitation (eco-san) is a viable and feasible alternative in these peri-urban areas since it has a lot of advantages, viz.: recovery and re-use of nutrients for urban agriculture; minimal risk from spread of diseases; cost-effectiveness; minimal/no use of water and no contamination of ground water. As such adoption of eco-san is the likely way forward for planning for sanitation services in Africa s peri-urban areas