Economics of liquid waste management in Funafuti, Tuvalu

Tuvalu faces real challenges in relation to the management of its human wastes (fekau o tino). This is despite decades of promotion of the use of water sealed flush toilets and septic tank systems as the most hygienic and safe way to dispose of human wastes. These systems were promoted as an alternative to the use of the beach for human waste disposal.

The Tuvalu Millennium Development Report (Tuvalu 2005) notes with respect to Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 7, Target 10 (regarding access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation) that “Tuvalu is on track to achieve the target for access to sanitation, although progress has been slower in the outer islands than on Funafuti”. Ninety two per cent of
households have access to basic sanitation, and 97% have access to safe drinking water. These figures are, however, deceptive since these performance assessments do not reflect effectiveness of the facilities used or their suitability to the Tuvalu conditions.

Most households have basic sanitation system, but unfortunately the septic tank based system — the most common form of sanitation in Funafuti — was introduced without regard to the geophysical characteristics of the atoll system.

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