What is Urban Sanitation?

Urban sanitation includes ensuring a safe supply of drinking water.

Urban sanitation is a form of sanitation that focuses on maintaining sanitary conditions in urban environments. Many people specifically think of human waste collection, treatment and disposal when they hear the words “urban sanitation”, but sanitation in urban settings is a much more complex system. Sanitation is an especially pressing issue in favelas, where overcrowded conditions and poor sanitation contribute to frequent outbreaks of disease that threaten favela residents as well as expose other city residents to health risks.

Sanitation is an urgent issue in favelas.

Historically, urban communities have given little importance to sanitation, which has become a major problem in some areas. The edges of many urban streets were littered with litter that could include dead animals along with untreated human waste. Walking on urban streets was an exercise in avoidance, as people threw garbage and human waste freely onto the street, paying no attention to passers-by, and diseases were rampant as a result of litter on the streets and in urban waterways. A growing understanding of hygiene combined with social pressure from people tired of living in the dirt eventually led to urban development or sanitation.

Most urban areas have garbage collection services.

The objective of urban sanitation is to reduce risks to human health through the management of factors in the urban environment that can contribute to health problems. One of the main factors is human waste, which is generated in large volumes in urban areas. The sewers that collect this waste and route it to central processing facilities are therefore a fundamental aspect of urban sanitation. So are facilities like public restrooms, which discourage people from using the street as a toilet, as well as portable restrooms for large events, designed to provide attendees with a place to safely eliminate waste.

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Sewers are a fundamental part of urban sanitation.

Urban sanitation also involves the management of water supply. A good sanitation service is concerned with providing clean water to citizens. This can include isolating wells to prevent them from becoming contaminated, ensuring water supplies from outside the city, and developing a secure network of pipes to supply water to residents.

Sanitation departments must also be concerned about litter. Most urban areas have a garbage collection service, allowing citizens to collect their garbage on a specific day for teams of collectors who will collect it and deliver it to a processing unit. Recycling and composting can be elements of municipal waste collection, designed to reduce pressure on the environment and provide additional revenue for the waste collection agency, which keeps costs down for consumers.

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