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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Poor awareness and attitudes to sanitation servicing can impede China's Rural Toilet Revolution: Evidence from Western China

Guo, Shaomin; Zhou, Xiaoqin; Simha, Prithvi; Mercado, Luis Fernando Perez; Lv, Yaping; Li, Zifu;

Abstract

The ongoing Toilet Revolution in China offers an opportunity to improve sanitation in rural areas by introducing new approaches, such as urine source separation, that can contribute to achieving SDG6. However, few studies have systematically assessed the social acceptability of managing human excreta collected in new sanitation systems. Therefore, in this study we performed face-to-face interviews with 414 local residents from 13 villages across three provinces in western China, to analyze the current situation and attitudes to possible changes in the rural sanitation service chain. We found that the sanitation chain was predominantly pit latrine-based, with 86.2% of households surveyed collecting their excreta in a simple pit, 82% manually emptying their pits, and 80.2% reusing excreta in agriculture without adequate pre-treatment. A majority (72%) of the households had a generally positive attitude to production of human excreta-derived fertilizer, but only 24% agreed that urine and feces should be collected separately. Multivariate logistic regression indicated that three factors (level of education, number of permanent household residents, perceived social acceptability) significantly influ-enced respondents' attitudes to reuse of excreta, although only perceived social acceptability had a high strength of association. Overall, our survey revealed that rural households often misuse toilet systems, fail to comply with government-specified sanitation guidelines, have low awareness of alternative solutions, and are over-reliant on the government to fix problems in the service chain. Thus while new sanitation technologies should be developed and implemented, information campaigns that encourage rural households to manage their excreta safely are also important. (c) 2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

Keywords

Rural sanitation; Nutrient recycling; Pit latrines; Social norms; Source separation; Wastewater treatment

Published in

Science of the Total Environment

2021, volume: 794, article number: 148660
Publisher: ELSEVIER

Authors' information

Guo, Shaomin
University of Science and Technology Beijing
Zhou, Xiaoqin
University of Science and Technology Beijing
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Energy and Technology
Perez Mercado, Luis Fernando
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Energy and Technology
Lv, Yaping
University of Science and Technology Beijing
Li, Zifu
University of Science and Technology Beijing

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG6 Clean water

UKÄ Subject classification

Environmental Sciences

Publication Identifiers

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.148660

URI (permanent link to this page)

https://res.slu.se/id/publ/113476