Research in Bangladesh
February 10, 2016 | Simon Jenkins
The University’s work in Bangladesh offers a telling example of how local solutions can make a huge difference.
In recent years, Bangladesh has moved very rapidly towards full coverage of rural sanitation. Now most human waste from its 163 million people is discharged into pit latrines – and our research is helping authorities there to develop the technology to deal safely with the waste and re-use its nutrients for agricultural purposes.
The foul job of manually emptying these latrines falls to a group of workers who are considered the very lowest of society. Their work is hard and vile, their life expectancy low.
In collaboration with a local NGO and with Bangladesh University of Technology, we are turning this into a respectable profession, where workers receive local government contracts and have protective gloves, boots and masks. Simply providing these men with a recognisable uniform has helped give them a new legitimacy, professionalising a service which is crucial to daily life.
Professor of Public Health Engineering Barbara Evans discusses the research