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Improving Sanitation in Coastal Communities with Special Reference to Puerto Princesa, Palawan Province, Philippines

© Rachelle G. Navarro. 1994

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments (see below)

Abstract (see below)

Resumé (see below)

Chapter 1 Introduction

1.1 Thesis Rationale
1.2 Goals and Objectives of the Thesis
1.3 Research Methodology
1.4 Scope and Limitations of the Study
1.5 Organization of the Thesis

Chapter 2 General Scenario of Sanitation Problems in Coastal and Waterfront Communities--A Literature Review

2.1 Reasons for Settling on Coastal, Waterfront and Low-lying Areas
2.2 Sanitation Problems
2.3 Health and Environmental Conditions

Chapter 3 Low-Cost Sanitation Systems used in Coastal and Waterfront Communities--A Literature Review

3.1 Available Low-Cost Sanitation Technologies
3.2 Sanitation Systems Used in Coastal and Waterfront Communities

Chapter 4 The Case Study

4.1 Community Background
4.2 *

Chapter 5 Results of Field Survey-- Analysis of Existing Sanitation in the Coastal Communities of Puerto Princesa

5.1 Basis of Analysis
5.2 Existing Environmental Sanitation
5.3 Health Condition and Observed Hygienic Practices related to Sanitation and Water Supply

Chapter 6 Essential Factors for the Provision of Sanitation Systems in Coastal Communities

6.1 Considerations in the Provision of Sanitation Systems
6.2 Sanitation Systems Options

Chapter 7 Conclusions and Recommendations

7.1 Summary of Existing sanitation Problems
7.2 Key Considerations in the Provision of Sanitation Systems
7.3 Recommended Approach in the selection of Sanitation Systems
7.4 Final Remarks


Appendix A: Background on Puerto Princesa, Palawan Province, Philippines
Appendix B: Supplementary Data on Field Survey Results


The sanitary collection, transportation, treatment and disposal of human waste promotes health, improves the quality of the environment and thus, the quality of life in a community. Some poor communities in developing countries, rarely consider inadequate excreta disposal a problem. In absence of sanitation facilities, these communities rely on natural processes to dispose of their waste, wherein the practice of defecating in the open fields or on surface water is prevalent.

In communities occupying coastal, waterfront and low-lying areas, human waste is directly disposed of into the surface water such as rivers, canals and sea or in the mudflat to await the tide. These surface waters, however, are often the communities' sources of food, and water for drinking, domestic and personal cleaning. Studies on sanitation show that contaminated water and human wastes are major factors in the transmission of serious diseases in the developing world.

This thesis aims to contribute to the process of selecting appropriate sanitation technologies for the low-income coastal and waterfront communities. The thesis analyzes sanitation and environmental conditions in the coastal communities of Puerto Princesa, Palawan Province, Philippines, to identify the important considerations for the provision of sanitation systems in these communities and hence, determine the feasible sanitation options.

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Le collecte, le transport et le traitement hygiéniques des excréments humains contribuent à la santé, améliorent la qualité de l'environnement et par le fait même la qualité de vie d'une communauté. Dans les pays en voie de développement, les populations les plus défavorisées portent souvent peu d'attention à l'évacuation hygiénique des excréments. En l'absence d'équipement sanitaire, ces populations s'en remettent à des procédés dits naturels pour l'élimination de leurs déchets et les pratiques de défécation directe dans l'environnement immédiat ou sur les plans d'eau sont courantes.

Dans les communautés côtières, établies aux abords des cours d'eau et sur les terres basses, déchets et excréments sont déposés directement à la surface de l'eau et abandonnés au hasard des marées. Pourtant, les eaux de surfaces constituent souvent la source d'eau pour la lessive, le bain et la consommation, ainsi que de nourriture de ces populations. De nombreuses études ont démontré que l'eau contaminée et les excréments humains sont des facteurs importants dans la transmission de maladies dangereuses dans les pays du Tiers-monde.

Cette thèse a pour but de constribuer au développement d'un processus de sélection d'équipements sanitaires appropriés pour les populations côtières et riveraines moins favorisées. La thèse analyse la condition de l'hygiène et de l'environnement dans la communauté côtière de Puerto Princesa, dans la province de Palawan aux Philippines, en vue d'identifier les critères les plus importants dans la sélection d'équipements sanitaires dans ces communautés, et donc de déterminer les options réalistes offertes.

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My sincere gratitude to Professor Vikram Bhatt and Professor Adrian Sheppard for their assistance and guidance in this thesis. I would also like to express my gratitude to Jesus Navarette for contributing valuable insights in the development of the research.

A warm thank you to the people of Puerto Princesa, Palawan, who have assisted me in everyway to make my stay in the island fruitful and noteworthy: to the city government of Puerto Princesa, for providing me with the relevant information for the research and for making my field survey in the coastal communities possible; to Mr. Colarina and his family, to Mr. Vic Siat, Mr. Bebot Santacruz and his family, for their warm hospitality; and to the people of Barangay Matahimik and Barangay Pagkakaisa, for their assistance and cooperation during the field survey.

My sincere gratitude to Miss Maureen Anderson and Miss Marcia King for their kind assistance throughout my two years of studies in the School of Architecture. I am also very grateful to McGill University and to the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) for their generous support which enabled me to pursue higher studies.

My warmest gratitude to my friends in the housing group--'the united colors of housing'-- for making my stay in Montreal colourful and memorable; and to my friends and collegues in Manila, for their continuous support.

And a very special thank you to my parents, brothers and sisters, for their love and prayers.

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