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The Sustainability of Toilets in Hanoi, Vietnam

Author: SASHA FINK
Published in IJED, Vol. 3 No. 3

Sustainable development must utilize the social infrastructure already in place. Community groups and organizations already present in Hanoi, Vietnam, should play a major role in developing sanitation infrastructure.
In Ancient Chinese the words Ha and Noi mean ‘contained by rivers’, so with 1.6 million people living on a former rice paddy, water drainage and wastewater disposal are major problems. This paper explores the situation for toilets, septic tanks, sewage and drainage. This paper proves that a large proportion of human waste in Hanoi goes directly to the waterways untreated. Compounding this problem is the inadequacy of joint sewage/drainage pipelines, resulting in the spillover of untreated waste into the streets and onto the footpaths during heavy rain.
A significant component of the research was in-depth interviews conducted in 41 households. Survey answers revealed that most people were concerned about pollution in their area from the septic/sewage system, and many people were actively involved in improving the situation in and around their house.

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