Cleanliness of Public Toilets in Nepal

The Challenge

2.3 billion lack access to improved sanitation facilities worldwide. Inadequate access to sanitation and hygiene facilities is known to be a leading cause of morbidity and mortality, particularly in low-income countries. In order to ensure adequate needs are met, the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply, Sanitation, and Hygiene (JMP) set to monitor progress towards ensuring global access to “basic” level sanitation services. Importantly, these “basic” sanitation services by definition only include private household facilities which are not shared with other households. This definition leaves shared or community sanitation facilities out of the “basic” sanitation requirements due to concerns around accessibility, safety, gender equity, and cleanliness. While some studies have identified health risks associated with using a shared sanitation facility (rather than private facilities), there is still an overall lack of evidence to support that there is a significant difference in cleanliness, and subsequent health benefits between private and shared and sanitation facilities. While private toilets may remain the ultimate goal of improved sanitation programs, high-quality shared sanitation facilities may be the best option in some low-income urban settings.

Project Overview

The WHAM Lab has been collaborating with Aerosan Toilets for over two years on their community toilets (HUBs) implementation in Kathmandu, Nepal. A pilot scale cleaning study was conducted to assess the effectiveness of the cleaning practices on reducing contamination on key high risk surfaces within the latrines.

The goals of the project are to a) assess how frequently the latrines need to be cleaned based off of usage over the course of a day to keep contamination on high risk surfaces to a minimum, b) compare the cleanliness of the HUBs over the course of a day to other community and household latrines in the area and c) recommend best cleaning practices (methods and frequency) for maintaining the latrines moving forward.


Bacterial contamination on latrine surfaces in community and household latrines in Kathmandu, Nepal

Authors: Shannon McGinnis, Dianna Marini, Prakash Amatya, Heather M Murphy

Publication date: 2019/1
Journal: International journal of environmental research and public health
Volume: 16
Issue: 2
Pages: 257
Publisher: MDPI


Area of Research

Funding By

Grand Challenges Canada (GCC)



Team Members

Shannon McGinnis

Partners and Collaborators

Aerosan Toilets


Kathmandu, Nepal