Improving sanitation on Cambodia’s Tonle Sap Lake

With almost 100,000 people living in dense floating communities on Cambodia’s Tonle Sap Lake and during the low water dry season, many experience poor health as their local ambient water becomes contaminated and often septic.

“People defecate directly into the water,” said Hakley Ke from Wetlands Work (WW!), a Phnom Penh-based social enterprise to channels News Asia.

To address the issue, WW! introduced the aquatic HandyPod, which can be inserted under under a floating house’s toilet, capturing the raw sewage and treating it within the Pod using microbial and other ecological communities enabled by the plants and their root systems.

“The end result is much less pathogen concentration entering into the ambient water,” Wetlands Work’s director and founder Taber Hand explained. “About 1 metre from the discharge point, the water may be considered recreationally safe.”

After a successful testing of three years in a floating village, the product was able to isolate and treat wastewater efficiently with no aesthetic problems in terms of smell or ‘visuals’, no mosquitoes, no chemicals, and basically no maintenance.

“We intend to apply the successful elements in a broader scale-up for all villages on the lake. Local savings and loan groups have welcomed the idea of marketing and installing HandyPods themselves as a revenue-generating business that benefits their floating community,” said Hand.

Source: Channel NewsAsia