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Effects of Climate Vulnerability on Household Sanitation Access, Functionality and Practices in Rural Cambodia

R. Abdel Sattar; J. Rogla, PhD; T. Veasna; T. Kozole; C. Nicoletti; and J. Harper, PhD, PE (2024)

Published in: 2024
Pages: 29

Environment, Development, and Sustainability

R. Abdel Sattar; J. Rogla, PhD; T. Veasna; T. Kozole; C. Nicoletti; and J. Harper, PhD, PE

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With climate events increasing in frequency and severity, effects on human life, particularly those most vulnerable, are projected to increase in coming decades. Focusing on the effects of floods, storms, and drought, , we investigate how climate vulnerability correlates with toilet dysfunction and abandonment in rural Cambodia using two household surveys, a latrine sales database, two flood-extent maps, and a composite climate vulnerability index. Using multiple linear regression and measures of association, we show that together and individually, increasing climate vulnerability and poverty correlated with increasing toilet abandonment. Toilet dysfunction occurred more frequently in flood-prone regions during the rainy season and increased with more household members. How living in flood-prone regions affected households’ perceptions, practices, and experiences with sanitation was also characterized in detail. The results highlight the need for more scientifically rigorous evidence to improve climate-resilient toilet designs that provide access to a functional toilet year-round. Beyond technology, household behavior towards and maintenance of sanitation infrastructure is a critical concern, as unsafe practices were found to be more common among climate-vulnerable households. The sanitation sector, particularly including government, should focus on improving access to safely managed sanitation in rural communities, particularly ones who are most affected by climate change, to prevent pollution of natural resources and further protect public health.

Bibliographic information

R. Abdel Sattar; J. Rogla, PhD; T. Veasna; T. Kozole; C. Nicoletti; and J. Harper, PhD, PE (2024). Effects of Climate Vulnerability on Household Sanitation Access, Functionality and Practices in Rural Cambodia. Environment, Development, and Sustainability

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