End Date : 10.09.2014
Start Date : 10.09.2013
PIT LATRINES, A BLESSING OR A HAZARD
Department : Research and Development
Researcher : Dr. Philemon Odirile
PIT LATRINES, A BLESSING OR A HAZARD???
Characterization of pit contents and developing a scientific understanding of processes occurring in onsite dry pit latrines systems in low income urban areas; this is the topic that Dr Philemon Tlamelo Odirle will be researching, jointly with colleagues from various Faculties and Departments. The project which received sponsorship from the Bill and Melinda Gates through the Water Research Commission in South Africa, was awarded US$ 177,110 over a period of two and half years. It is a multidisciplinary study that will also produce at least an MSc and a PhD graduate.
According to Dr. Odirile, it has been noticed through observation that, pit latrines are polluters of groundwater resources. The research will mainly be to characterize contents of the pit latrines, create a database of latrines in different areas, about 100 latrines in Gaborone. The objectives of the research are to characterize and develop a scientific understanding within the pits, review the emptying policies in Botswana, to determine the rheological characteristics of the faecal sludge in pit latrines, develop emptying guidelines for users and practitioners, carry out the assessment of physical, chemical and microbial characteristics of pit contents as well as do a risk assessment of the operation and the maintenance of pit latrines.
Although in Botswana the research is to be done only around Gaborone, comparisons of the findings will be made on the basis of the results from those Southern African countries where the study will be replicated.
Dr Odirile, who is not new to the world of research, is a civil engineering lecturer in the University of Botswana and an Environmental Engineering researcher also. Dr. Odirile is collaborating with colleagues from other University of Botswana Departments. These are Dr. Veronica Obuseng from the Chemistry Department, Dr. Ignatius M Matsheka from the Biological Sciences, and Dr. Bontle Mbongwe from the Faculty of Health Sciences. The multidisciplinary research team collaborating externally with Water Utilities Corporation, whose main role is to advice on the relevant policies.