Virtual Environmental and Humanitarian Adviser Tool – (VEHA Tool) is a tool
to easily integrate environmental considerations in humanitarian response. Field Implementation guidances are useful for the design and execution of humanitarian activities in the field.

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VEHA - Field Implementation Guidance

Water supply, Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion (WASH)
Access to sanitation
Faecal Sludge management (FSM)
Depollution of faeces-contaminated spaces

Depollution of faeces-contaminated spaces


Environmental factors causing/contributing to the needs and affecting the humanitarian activity

Water pollution can affect people’s health. Bacterial, viral and parasitic diseases like typhoid, cholera, encephalitis, poliomyelitis, hepatitis, skin infection and gastrointestinal diseases can spread through polluted water increasing the probabilities of overloading the capacity of excreta management systems due to diarrhoeal and vomiting cases. This impacts efficiency and capacity (that is increased amount of excreta generated due to health burdens).

In addition, proximity between water tubewells and latrines, soil porosity, ground water table, topography, drainage, and stability of slopes, may result in pollution of wells from surface water, sewage, sludge, solid waste leachates, chemical spills, etc and subsequent sickness or disease.

Gender, age, disability and HIV/AIDS implications

Women and girls are disproportionately affected by the lack of access to basic water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities, due to their needs during periods of increased vulnerability to infection around menstruation and reproduction cycles. Additionally, other groups may have special needs in terms of hygiene practices. For this reason, disaggregate and understand the different groups of people in the community that may have special needs and behaviors when performing hygiene actions. For example, women may be provided with disposable or reusable menstrual pads which will need to be handled after every use. as a consequence, women may need special and additional messages tailored to handle these specific items and the messages need to be created accordingly women’s beliefs.

Regarding other groups such as persons with disabilities or HIV/AIDS, create special messages explaining actions that are environmentally sensitive regarding special items they may be using. Regarding sexual health items, messages need to be oriented towards the safe disposal of items such as condoms. Condoms cause problems by clogging sewage drains.

Girls and women in low-resource and emergency contexts without access to adequate menstrual hygiene management facilities and supplies can experience stigma and social exclusion while also foregoing important educational, social, and economic opportunities.


Environmental impact categories

Soil pollution
Water pollution
Loss of biodiversity and ecosystems
Soil erosion

Summary of Impacts
Summary of potential environmental impacts

Pollution of water resources and soil around faeces disposal areas.

Impact detail
Detailed potential environmental impact information

The indiscriminate disposal of faeces or another type of human waste can have negative impacts on the environment. In this case, even though the specific location is being cleaned, the disposal of the waste needs to be passed in order to avoid displacing pollution to other places.


Summary of environmental activities

Determine appropriate collection, disposal, and treatment of collected waste. If treated waste is planned to be reused, ensure it is appropriately treated and tested prior to that final use.

Detailed guidance for implementing suggested environmental activities

Assess and investigate the most suitable treatment facility or disposal site for the collected waste. Raw sewage and older septage always require special handling.

Assess the characteristics of the faeces collection site. For example, if it is collected from water bodies, the amount of water in the solids will be significantly higher than that collected from the ground surface. When faeces are saturated, they have a larger volume and require different treatment than dry / drier waste.

Assess appropriate methods and products to decontaminate the spaces. Avoid the use of excessive amounts of chemicals such as bleach whenever possible, as they are harmful to the wider environment.

Lessons Learnt
Lessons from past experiences

In Bangladesh, there has been insufficient capacity to treat sewage and septage. This has led to much sewage being insufficiently treated and ground water pollution. This is being addressed with the gradual provision of water supply networks.

Activity Measurement
Environmental indicators/monitoring examples

Clean up of feaces-contaminated spaces follows environmental guidelines that avoid and prevent damage to the nearby ecosystems.

Activity status
Main Focus
Focus of suggested activities

Mitigation of environmental damage

Resource implications (physical assets, time, effort)

Time to assess faecal contaminated spaces and determine appropriate cleanup, disposal, and treatment processes.

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