Communication and learning for sustainable sewage systems from a perspective of sanitation professionals

Document type: Conference Papers
Peer reviewed: Yes
Author(s): Birgitta Rydhagen, Carin Dackman, Susanne Jonsson, Helena Åberg
Title: Communication and learning for sustainable sewage systems from a perspective of sanitation professionals
Translated title: Kommunikation och lärande för hållbara avloppssystem ur VA-tjänstemännens perspektiv
Conference name: Vetenskap för hållbar utveckling
Year: 2007
City: Linköping
Organization: Blekinge Institute of Technology
Department: School of Technoculture, Humanities and Planning (Sektionen för teknokultur, humaniora och samhällsbyggnad)
School of Technoculture, Humanities and Planning S-371 79 Karlskrona
+46 455 38 50 00
http://www.tks.bth.se/
Authors e-mail: birgitta.rydhagen@bth.se, carin.dackman@telia.com, susjo@tema.liu.se, helena.aberg@ped.gu.se
Language: English
Abstract: In this paper, we aim to explore how the focus on sustainable development affects municipal communication strategies in the sanitation sector. Efforts to reduce harmful substances in the sewage system have increased the focus on households and their use of chemicals ending up in the sanitary system. Yet the picture of effects of communication and how household habits change is rather vague. The present study has included a questionnaire distributed to a nationwide sample of municipal water and sanitation offices, as well as a focus group interview with sanitation professionals in one of the municipalities. Questions concerning communication strategies as well as expectations on households and on their own work tasks were included. It was found that sanitation professionals related to the concept of sustainable development in their work. The most common communication strategies were written information in different forms. Households used phone or e-mail to contact municipal offices. In the focus group interview, technical solutions were given priority as households were not expected to pay special attention to the sewage system. The view of households was ambivalent, and the issue of household communication was recognised as complex. Much of the current situation and approaches depend on the structure of the current large scale sanitation system, developed for convenience and safety during the last century.
Summary in Swedish: Studie av hur kommunikation kring hanteringen av avlopp sker mellan kommunernas VA-kontor och hushållen. En enkät med 50 kommuner kring deras kommunikationssätt fördjupades genom en fokusgruppsintervju i en kommun. Förväntningarna på hushållen och från hushållen berördes också i studien. Skriftlig information var det vanligaste sättet för kommuner att nå hushållen. Förväntningarna var att hushållen är ganska oinsatta men de bör ändå använda avloppet på ett bra sätt. Den nuvarande relationen mellan hushåll och VA-verksamhet bygger till stor del på att systemet är uppbyggt kring bekvämlighet och säkerhet under föregående sekel.
Subject: Technoscience Studies\General
Software Engineering\General
Keywords: sanitation, communication, households, sustainable, engineers
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