Please check out the new WECF website on!

Stay here to browse our website archive (2004-2019).

WECF Deutschland

WECF France

WECF Nederland




Romania - Rural Development for All

Ecological sanitation and waste-(water) management in rural areas of Romania


Countries: Romania
Donors: Fondation Ensemble, France
Partners: GeoSan, Femei pentru un Viitor Curate (Women for a Clean Environment, FVC)
Issues: Water & Sanitation
Duration: 09/2005 - 08/2006


Mismanagement of waste, waste dumps, agricultural waste, poor sanitary conditions and pit latrines cause groundwater and surface water pollution. Health effects of this pollution are both long term (thyroid and brain dysfunction) and immediate (blue-baby-disease, diarrhoea, parasitic diseases, hepatitis) and can be lethal to adults, but in particular to newborn babies and small children.

The newly founded Garla Mare NGOs GeoSan and FVC decided to work on the topics water, sanitation and solid waste. They would remove plastic and manure waste from their village.

The aim of the project was to continue the strategies, developed during the Safe Drinking Water project with the citizens of Garla Mare; improving the direct living conditions in rural areas by an improved waste and water management and by developing access to affordable and hygienic sanitation (ecological sanitation). Construction of public and private urine diverting toilets, fisability studies for an affordable solid waste management system and rural tourism where to be carried out in one year. See Sustainable Development for All - Reducing effects of polluted drinking water and inadequate sanitation on childrens health in rural Romania.

Garla Mare - location.

Project launch

A public party was organisied in the schoolyard to inform the citizens about the new project and allow the citizens to see and test the dry urine diverting toilets located in the school. At least 300 citizens, old and young, Roma and Romanian came to the party, enjoyed the free drinks and snacks and most importantly had the opportunity to visit the dry urine diverting toilets. See the GTZ ecosan Database.

Development and implementation of activities

Is eco-tourism an option in Garla Mare?

The citizens of Garla Mare see tourism as an additional source of income. Six Dutch master students from the University of Wageningen with various backgrounds were sent by WECF to carry out a study on “Small-Scale Environment-friendly Tourism on the Border of the Danube - Opportunities and Chances for the Villagers in Romanian Garla Mare”.

Two of these students, accompanied by members of GeoSan, visited the region for one week while the other students gained information by email and through the university. The result – tourism is possible, but certain conditions must be met. For example, good accommodation facilities and the directions to Garla Mare need to be improved. See Eco-Tourism in Garla Mare.

Developing a suitable solid waste management

The local women considered tourism an additional income, but for this the region needs to manage its solid waste situation. A solid waste management concept was developed.

Like in many Romanian rural villages, Garla Mare has no municipal waste collection and is surrounded by illegal waste dumps with animal cadavers (e.g. dogs) and rodents. Direct contact with the waste, spreading of the waste by rodents, birds or other animals as well as leakage of hazardous materials are health risk for the population.

In co-operation with GeoSan, a student investigated solid waste management in Garla Mare to find out the suitable and affordable options as well as obsticales and regulations at local, national and EU level. The study results can serve as a basis for future decisions on solid waste management in Garla Mare. See Solid waste management in Garla Mare, managing the beauty of the Danube Delta. Many households have pigs so the focus was on manure and compost management as well as handling the illegal waste dumps in the area.

Seminars and workshops supported the research and allowed the involvement of all the citizens and interest groups. A start on solid waste management was made; waste bins and containers for collecting plastic waste were installed in the main street and in the school. The plastic waste will be sold in the nearby town.

FVC organised clean-up actions with children and provided seminars and leaflets on environmental issues.

Improve the sanitary facilities and quality of groundwater

According to the publication “The State of the World’s Toilets 2005”, from Wateraid ( Romania is ranked 34th of the countries with the worst sanitation. In Romania with a population of 21,7 million has 10,4 million people without adequate sanitation. Only 11% of the rural population have sanitary sewage at home.

In response to a question about the biggest problems facing the schools, the school inspector of the district of Teleorman spontaneously answered: toilets.

The survey on Experiencing a dry urine diverting school toilets and pit latrines in Garla Mare (link) showed, that all households have pit latrines. Sanitary facilities in Garla Mare were completely inadequate. The survey showed also that the pupils and teachers are satisfied with the urine diverting toilets. These were constructed during the MATRA project. See From pit latrine to ecological sanitation.

Using the school toilets as a example more ecosan toilets were planned in Garla Mare; a public toilet near the town hall and some household ecosan toilets. In the spring of 2006 GeoSan and the mayor of Garla Mare began the construction of a further ecosan toilet facility, which was inaugurated in October 2006.

In cooperation with the Hamburg University of Technology workshops for the construction, operation and maintenance of ecosan toilets were organized. The local NGOs developed and provided education materials.

Local citizens were instructed on how to build and manage households with an ecosan toilet. See Dry Urine Diverting Toilets, Principles, Operation and Construction.

The interest among the citizens of Garla Mare to improve their sanitary condition by ecological sanitation is now very high. Unfortunately they lack the financial means and are dependant on external support, if ecosan toilets are to be constructed. See Romania Gender Socio Economic Analyses Report.

Related News

Meet the Winners of the Gender Just Climate Solutions Award at COP24
On the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we awarded Gender Just Climate Solutions Winners at the climate negotiations in Katowice, Poland

Invitation: Gender Just Climate Solutions Award 2018
10 December, COP24 Katowice

Getting to the Future We Want
4-7 November, Brussels: European Environmental Bureau’s (EEB) Annual Conference

WECF and partners all over Europe start GoodFood4All Campaign

Lack of trustworth information is a barrier to chemicals & product related decision-making
8-9 October, Geneva: short report of the meeting of the Aarhus Convention’s task force on public participation in decision-making

Congratulations Sascha!
Named thirty-third most influential sustainability fighter in the Netherlands

The Netherlands in the next gear - Adopt an SDG Live!
WECF and Building Change organised the event “The Netherlands in the next gear – Adopt an SDG live” on 27 September in the Koorenhuis in The Hague

Human Biomonitoring for Europe
Vienna, 26 September: stakeholder forum