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)
Use of anal-cleansing and handwashing materials

Use of anal-cleansing and handwashing materials


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 are often responsible for use of cleaning materials, but also typically have less access to education, fewer decision-making rights, and their health concerns are typically taken less seriously than men’s.


Environmental impact categories

Air pollution
Soil pollution
Water pollution
Loss of biodiversity and ecosystems

Summary of Impacts
Summary of potential environmental impacts

Water and soil pollution due to accumulation and unsafe disposal of cleaning materials.

Impact detail
Detailed potential environmental impact information

Anal cleansing materials can be solid or liquid. Solid materials require special disposal measures because in many cases they cannot be disposed of through toilets due to the likelihood of clogging, which can cause toilets to malfunction and possibly pollute the environment.

When they fall under the liquid category, they mix with faecal waste increasing its water content, and as a consequence increasing the amount of waste that needs to be treated.


Summary of environmental activities

Provide facilities for anal cleansing materials to be disposed of in ways that do not harm the environment

Detailed guidance for implementing suggested environmental activities

Design systems that can divert anal cleansing materials without mixing with other wastes, for example, pit composts may be used. When solid cleansing materials are collected, ensure plans, equipment, safe storage, transport, and treatment are in place so they can be disposed of safely. Ensure solid waste is not taken for open burning and liquid waste is not discharged into local watercourses or soil.

Design appropriate hygiene promotion activities to address any health, maintenance or environmental concerns, for example, if people are accustomed to disposing of toilet paper into the toilet but local facilities and conditions mean that this would cause blockages.

Certain latrine designs – such as dry (non-flush) latrines or urine-diverting designs – minimise the amount of water used. This reduces demand on water resources, decreases rates of soil infiltration, and decreases the frequency required for desludging or decommissioning.

Lessons Learnt
Lessons from past experiences

In Bangladesh, there has been insufficient capacity to treat sewage and septage, and a lack of capacity to remove and treat sludge from sewage treatment facilities. 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

Anal cleansing materials are disposed of in an environmentally sensitive way

Activity status
Main Focus
Focus of suggested activities

Prevention of environmental damage

Resource implications (physical assets, time, effort)

Time and budget to design and provide facilities for anal cleansing materials to be disposed of in ways that do not harm the environment

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