Rapid urban growth makes it almost impossible to deliver centralized sewage and treatment solutions in most Asian cities. In India, only three cities have capacity to treat more than 70% of their sewage. In Bangalore, the government has the capacity to transport only 40% of the sewage and only 40% of that is treated. Tests by the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board show that this treatment is not effective.
Sustainable urban solutions must include smaller, decentralized Sewage Treatment Plants (STP) that are owned and operated by communities and apartment complexes themselves. However, today policy-makers, agencies, and urban groups are not ready to deal with a proliferation of diverse STPs to ensure compliance so that public health issues do not surface. With a combination of policy, technology, and citizen engagement, it is possible to ensure that citizen-led decentralized STP solutions meet urban needs without any negative health consequences.