Winner of the Innovation Award at the 1st World Summit on Leaving No One Behind is Shervin Hashemi from Seoul National University, presenting a project entitled “Resource Circulation Sanitation Showcase to Provide Sustainable Sanitation in Remote Areas”. Developed with Professor Moo Young Han, this project appealed to the judges based on the innovative nature-based solution and supporting access to safe and sustainable water and sanitation for people in remote and water scarce rural areas.
The Summit was developed to support practical solutions for realising human rights to water and sanitation, highlighting projects that are affordable for local communities, incorporate a human rights-based approach, and can easily be scalable through replication in other areas.
This project met these criteria best out of the finalists, especially since it encourages the use of safe sanitation through ensuring that the waste is recycled as a safe fertiliser, potentially covering costs. It does not require complicated infrastructure and meets WHO guidelines for remote areas.
The project features a system named “Resource Circulation Sanitation (RCS)” developed as an efficient and sustainable solution for remote areas. The process separates liquid and solid toilet waste and combines it with rainwater harvesting and bio seed fed tank-reactors to reduce reaction time for composting to two weeks. The use of nitrifying microorganisms improves fertilising potential, and removes unwanted indicators making it safe to use in agriculture.
Already pilot-tested in Seoul in a suburban area to offer public hygiene services, the next phase will use the funding from the Innovation Award, together with matching funds from Seoul University to set up a more strenuous test in an agricultural area of Vietnam using local labour and materials. A sanitation committee will be set up to include participation of the local community, and to encourage local ownership and testing of issues such as odour. The public and cultural acceptance of the system will be monitored. During the one-year programme, the economic benefits will also be measured to estimate the agricultural productivity benefits and quality of the final products.
The project will be run under the Sustainable Water Management Centre (SWMC) at Seoul National University. The SWMC was opened 2015 with the vision of finding solutions toward SDG6 and promoting new water paradigms based on science-based research and practice-oriented case studies. Their mission is to find solutions for global water and sanitation challenges using traditional nature-based solutions supported by advanced technologies and sciences. Shervin Hashemi is currently a post-doctoral fellow at Seoul National University, where Moo Young Han is a professor at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the director of the SNU Sustainable Water Management Centre.