Centre for Aquatic Environments

News and events from the Centre for Aquatic Environments

News from the Brown Gold (BG) project

Centre for Aquatic Environments researchers Prof. James Ebdon and Dr Diogo Trajano Gomes da Silva are involved in an exciting Global Challenges Research Funded (GCRF) project led by Prof. Lyla Mehta from the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at Sussex University. The project “Towards Brown Gold” seeks to re-imagine sanitation in rapidly urbanising areas in Asia and Africa to help address the sanitation crisis, enhance off–grid economies and improve the well-being of poor and vulnerable women and men, and marginalised communities such as Dalits, migrants, sanitation workers and refugees. In response this innovative project combines social science, law, engineering, microbiology and creative arts, to address the challenge of sustainable and safely managed sanitation in rapidly growing ‘off-grid’ urban areas of Nepal, India, Ghana and Ethiopia.

The University of Brighton team is working closely with project partners in Nepal, and despite COVID-19 restriction the Nepalese researchers Prof. Sabitri Tripathi (Nepal Engineering College), Prabha Pokhrel (IDS Nepal) and Dr Dhundi Raj Pathak (Tribhuwan University) have managed to conclude the first fieldwork visit when they visited and took wastewater and sludge samples from a faecal sludge treatment facility for analysis. A series of stakeholder meetings, focus group discussions, and key informant interviews were also held with members of the local community in the town of Gulariya, situated in Southwest Nepal. Valuable insights into local sanitation issues were identified and data collected during this first visit are being processed. One of the main issues relates to the low levels of pit latrine emptying and the widespread use of unsealed septic tanks, which given the proximity of the water table and the heavy reliance on shallow tube well is a threat to human health (especially during the monsoon when flooding occurs). The research team is now planning the second field visit later in the year and this time with University of Brighton  partners in tow. More news to come! Watch the CAE blog for further information.

Twitter: @BrownGold_GCRF



Figure 1. Visit to Gulariya faecal sludge treatment facility

Figure 2. Administrating Sanitation questionnaires in Gulariya Municipality


Figure 3. Prof Tripathi conducting a focus group discussion with community members

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Suzanne Armsden • February 18, 2022

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