Worldwide, unsanitary conditions are responsible for more than three million deaths annually. One of the reasons is the low level of sanitation in developing countries. Particularly, sludge from these regions has a high parasite concentration and low heavy metal content even though the available information is limited. Different issues needed to achieve a sustainable sludge management in developing nations are analysed. Based on this analysis some conclusions arise: sludge management plays an important role in sanitation programs by helping reduce health problems and associated risks; investments in sanitation should consider sludge management within the overall projects; the main restriction for reusing sludge is the high microbial concentration, which requires a science-based decision on the treatment process, while heavy metals are generally low; adequate sludge management needs the commitment of those sectors involved in the development and enforcement of the regulations as well as those that are directly related to its generation, treatment, reuse or disposal; current regulations have followed different approaches, based mainly on local conditions, but they favour sludge reuse to fight problems like soil degradation, reduced crop production, and the increased use of inorganic fertilizers. This paper summarises an overview of these issues.

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