Measuring Untreated Waste Would Better Capture Progress Toward Sanitation Goals

Devex: Choosing the right post-2015 sanitation indicators
Brian Arbogast, director of the water, sanitation and hygiene program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“…We need to start thinking about — and measuring — our progress in a way that captures the full sanitation challenge … Fortunately, one single indicator can capture this: the amount of untreated fecal waste that gets released into the environment. A commitment to reduce untreated waste would drive the necessary investments in fecal sludge management in urban and peri-urban areas, while complementing investments to end open defecation in rural areas. As the world turns its attention to creating new post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals, I think it’s critical that we set a target to measure and reduce the amount of untreated waste. This one indicator could capture much of the progress sought in the sanitation goals recently proposed by the U.N. Open Working Group on the SDGs…” (8/26).