Increasing water stress and growing urbanization force a greater number of people to use wastewater as an alternative water supply, especially for irrigation. Although wastewater irrigation in agriculture has a long history and substantial benefits, without adequate treatment and protective measures on farms and in markets, use of wastewater poses risks to human health and the environment. Against this background, the World Health Organization (WHO) published Guidelines for the safe use of wastewater, excreta and greywater in agriculture and aquaculture, in 2006. The Sanitation safety planning: manual for safe use and disposal of wastewater, greywater and excreta - a step-by-step risk-based management tool for sanitation systems - was published by WHO in 2016 to put these guidelines into practice. Sanitation safety planning (SSP) can be applied to all sanitation systems, to ensure the systems are managed to meet health objectives. This paper summarizes the pilot-testing of the SSP manual in India, Peru, Portugal, Philippines, Uganda and Viet Nam. Also reviewed are some of the key components of the manual and training, and an overview of SSP training and dissemination efforts and opportunities for implementation in the WHO South-East Asia Region. Lessons learnt during the piloting phase show how reducing health risks can be surprisingly easy, even in a low-income setting, especially when combining many smaller measures. The SSP approach can make an important contribution towards Sustainable Development Goal target 6.3, by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing the release of hazardous chemicals and materials, thereby halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-40
Number of pages7
JournalWHO South-East Asia journal of public health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2017


  • Agriculture
  • Aquaculture
  • Asia, Southeastern
  • Goals
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Humans
  • Risk
  • Safety
  • Sanitation/standards
  • Waste Water
  • Water Supply/standards
  • World Health Organization


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