Environmental health, called by engineers of the sector "environmental hygiene", is constituted by all the elements of the environment which allow a healthy living environment and a harmonious human development. Its basic components are :
■ the supply of suitable drinking water,
■ rational management of wastewater and sewage sludge,
■ the correct evacuation of rainwater,
■ solid waste management produced by the community,
■ perfect control of pollution from the activities of industrial establishments.
The EDE cabinet does not pretend to identify all the challenges of this sector of sanitary engineering. It attempts to promote the most competent human resources and to support African governments in the definition and implementation of sectoral policies adapted to communities while respecting real sustainable development.
The firm has specialized over the past 15 years by gradually attacking the following areas:
■Sewage and sludge disposal
The progress report on sanitation and drinking water, 2015 monitoring report and MDG assessment "Progress on Sanitation and Drinking Water: 2015 Update and MDG Assessment", indicates that one in three people in the world, that is 2 , 4 billion people lack access to improved sanitation and 1 billion people practice open defecation. Lack of sanitation increases risk of disease and malnutrition, especially for women and children .Sanitation is an element "essential for health and environmental health" but also, for each human being, "a factor of development and dignity". During the years 2000-2010, the firm provided approach based on a structured learning process, starting from concepts towards sanitation projects developed by States to draw lessons and good practices through large-scale dissemination. The strategy and the basic principles developed are focused on a minimum of sanitation: "a barrier is erected against the spread of diseases carried by the faeces" for all human beings. Supply-demand approaches to the sanitation market have also influenced the sector. States and financial partners have evolved towards a market logic which is not always relevant for the poorest in urban and rural areas. New models of financing for the sector are starting to emerge with the concept of Public Private Partnership (PPP) ).
■ Stormwater management
During the years 2010-2016, the EDE cabinet approached the stormwater management aspect not essentially as a technical object but on the contrary as a set of actions requiring to be reintegrated in the way of doing and thinking about the on the one hand, and to focus on the organizational, financial and institutional processes which surround it through a multidisciplinary approach, without forgetting the essential technicality processes, on the other hand. The implementation of the Rainwater Management Program (PROGEP) with the Municipal Development Agency (ADM) in Senegal constitutes a model model.
■ Solid waste management
Solid waste management includes the collection, transport, recovery and elimination of waste and, more broadly, any activity involved in organizing the management of waste from its production to its final treatment. If the links of collection, transport and recycling seem familiar and find suitable solutions in Africa, landfills are still equations with several unknown variables and constitute one of the major problems for national authorities and local elected representatives in Africa .The Cabinet positions itself towards the management and characterization of this most neglected link in this global management, "the non-control of landfills" which become just outlets for maximum concentration of pollution of all kinds.
The firm's strategies, principles and objectives are:
■ in-depth knowledge of these deposits, which can constitute an efficient trading tool that can play a significant role in climate change, which is essential for planning,
■ the choice of technologies,
■ equipment sizing.
The reflection of the EDE firm is the determination of methods and approaches for the knowledge of these deposits. Appropriate and proven value chains exist for Africa. The political, economic and social constraints noted are not insurmountable in the current conditions and situations of African cities.
The polluter pays principle is not reasonably applicable in most industrial platforms often located in urban areas in Africa. These industrial units are often agglomerated in an urban fabric whose planning is controlled neither by the States nor by the local elected officials. The cabinet positions itself in the support to the States for the definition of policies, strategies and objectives for the rational management pollution caused by industrial units.
In some countries which have already acquired this tool, the qualitative and quantitative characterizations of pollution have made it possible to put in place a draft pollution tax which must normally be accompanied by appropriate measuring instruments, accepted by all stakeholders. Cabinet support for states is evident in this final chapter.
In the 2030 Agenda for the SDGs, Africa is invited to redouble its efforts to improve sanitation in all areas of environmental hygiene. The sovereign responsibility of the States will consist in:
■ educate and protect the most exposed populations,
■ to change the old mentalities and practices which confront the quest for dignity,
■ communicate and raise awareness in an open and frank way on the issue of sanitation.