African Journal of
Environmental Science and Technology

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Environ. Sci. Technol.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0786
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJEST
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 929

Full Length Research Paper

Household-scale environmental health in the Ezulwini Valley, Swaziland

James D. Proctor*
  • James D. Proctor*
  • Environmental Studies Program-MSC 62, Lewis & Clark College, 0615 SW Palatine Hill Road, Portland, OR 97219 USA
  • Google Scholar
Ben Rathbun
  • Ben Rathbun
  • Environmental Studies Program-MSC 62, Lewis & Clark College, 0615 SW Palatine Hill Road, Portland, OR 97219 USA
  • Google Scholar
Erin Scheibe
  • Erin Scheibe
  • Environmental Studies Program-MSC 62, Lewis & Clark College, 0615 SW Palatine Hill Road, Portland, OR 97219 USA
  • Google Scholar
Samantha Shafer
  • Samantha Shafer
  • Environmental Studies Program-MSC 62, Lewis & Clark College, 0615 SW Palatine Hill Road, Portland, OR 97219 USA
  • Google Scholar


  •  Received: 02 January 2014
  •  Accepted: 02 April 2014
  •  Published: 30 April 2014

Abstract

An environmental health assessment of 210 households located in four communities in the Ezulwini Valley, Swaziland, is summarized. The assessment focused on household-scale environmental health in the context of four key resource sectors: drinking water, energy, solid waste and human waste, with availability and perceived adequacy considered for each sector. The survey was administered in the field by small teams of students alongside Swazi community members, utilizing a snowball sampling strategy with stratification by economic class. Electronic administration via mobile devices assisted in geolocating records, minimizing entry error and rapidly compiling results for daily review and analysis. Results indicate challenges in household access to basic resources and resource impacts, even in this relatively developed part of Swaziland; these results varied considerably by community and economic class, and were only somewhat comparable to previous national-scale assessments. In a larger context, international efforts toward improving household-scale environmental health conditions (e.g., via related UN Millennium Development Goals) are laudable, yet these results corroborate other research suggesting that progress can be difficult to measure, and is decidedly uneven by household location and socioeconomic status.

Key words: Swaziland, environmental health, water, sanitation, solid waste, fuelwood, Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).