Plastic Sheeting: A guide to the specification and use of plastic sheeting in humanitarian relief | Latrine | Nature

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This booklet is aimed to help humanitarian aid workers make more informed decisions on the use of plastic sheeting in emergencies. The target audience includes programme managers, field based engineers and technical staff, logisticians and others involved in providing emergency shelter and sanitation services to disaster and conflicted families.
  pl sti plastic sheeting sheeting  A guide to the speci fi  cation and use of plastic sheeting in humanitarian relief   plastic sheeting This booklet is aimed to help humanitarian aid workers make more informed decisions on the use of plastic sheeting in emergencies. The target audience includes programme managers, fi eld based engineers and technical staff, logisticians and others involved in providing emergency shelter and sanitation services to disaster and con fl icted families. Contents include:  Decision making guidelines for considering when plastic sheeting is an appropriate material;  How to ef  fi ciently specify, transport, warehouse and distribute plastic sheeting;  International standards and speci fi cations of plastic sheeting;  Construction details of plastic sheeting as a building material;  Key climate and performance issues;  Environmental considerations and safe disposal;  Guidance on usage of other polyethylene based sheeting products;  Reference section on where to go for more detailed technical advice.This booklet recognizes that plastic sheeting is an extremely versatile emergency relief item that can be effective in addressing the immediate needs of displaced or affected families. Although the humanitarian community spends millions of dollars each year on plastic sheeting, some of this is wasted due to poor quality, inadequate speci fi cation, and poorly informed usage. It is hoped that this booklet will help promote a better understanding of when plastic sheeting is appropriate, as well as ensuring a wider consistency in the quality of material and technical aid on its use. Digital versions of this booklet are available to download free of charge (see inside for details).  1 i - IntroductionPlastic Sheeting PLASTIC SHEETING A guide to the speci fi  cation and use of plastic sheetingin humanitarian relief i.1 Foreword: Plastic sheeting is one of the most widely distributed non–food relief items used in humanitarian operations. Each year, hundreds of thousands of square meters of polyethylene sheets are distributed by NGOs, government agencies and private sector. For families displaced by con fl icts or whose homes have been damaged by disasters, plastic sheeting can be a useful temporary building material for repairs or emergency shelter structures. Ensuring that displaced families and communities receive the appropriate types of humanitarian aid in a timely manner is a key objective of all relief agencies and donors. The versatility and low cost of plastic sheeting have made it a default choice for emergency shelter interventions by agencies. Yet in recent disaster responses, variations in the sizes and quality of plastic sheeting distributed to displaced persons suggests a lack of clarity on how plastic sheeting can best support recovery efforts in affected households and their communities.  As part of their organizational mandates to encourage more effective and coordinated humanitarian aid, The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and af  fi liate members of Oxfam International have collaborated on the production and distribution of these technical guidelines on the speci fi cation and uses of plastic sheeting in emergencies. Informed by research into good practices in humanitarian responses where the timely delivery of plastic sheeting has been proven effective in meeting emergency shelter and sanitation needs, the contents of these guidelines have been reviewed by peer review panels in Europe, the UK and the US. Over 75 persons representing humanitarian agencies, donors, manufacturers, and independent consultants have contributed to draft versions of these guidelines. IFRC and Oxfam are extremely grateful for the valuable input these individuals have offered.Given the variety of local building practices and cultures where humanitarian interventions occur, these guidelines are not intended to be a de fi nitive how-to guide for using plastic sheeting as a construction material. The key question that the authors, editors, and reviewers of these guidelines wish to ask is not “how to build a better shelter”, but “how to best support local recovery efforts while moving simultaneously towards more durable and digni fi ed shelter solutions”. It is hoped that these guidelines will help decision makers and programme staff better understand how plastic sheeting can be useful in addressing this goal. Graham Saunders, IFRC Rick Bauer, Oxfam GBJuly 2007  2 Plastic Sheetingi - Introduction i.2 Acknowledgments: These guidelines are the result of an inter organisational collaboration between IFRC, Oxfam and many other agencies. The lead author and illustrator is Joseph Ashmore, with editorial support from Neil Bauman and additional illustrations by Seki Hirano.The following individuals have provided content, comments and support:John Adams, John Adlam, Madina Aliberdieva, Richard Allen, Eddie Argenal, Miriam Aschenasy, Sonia  Ashmore, Ralph Ashton, Lizzie Babister, Graham Barnes, James Shepherd-Barron, Andy Bastable, Jane Bean, Elizabeth Bellardo, Naomi Bourne, Marc Bretton, Gordon Browne, Matthew Burns, Nan Buzard, Heidi Chase, Mikhail Chitashvili, Hannah Claire, Ed Cooke, Nate Cooper, Tom Corsellis, Sally Crook, Bob Demeranville, Dave Eastman, Matt Ellingson, Patrick Ettampola, Deborah Hayes, Charles Kelly, James Kennedy, Rob Kissick, Liam Florey, Bill Flinn, Jon Fowler, Jacqui Gavin, Sara Gullo, John Howard, Malcolm Johnstone, Bruce LeBel, Andrew Loven, Simon Lucas, Richard Luff, Peter Man fi eld, Julia Macro, LeGrand Lee Malany, Charlie Mason, Susie Maugham, Robin Mays, Jean McCluskey, Jerome Michon, Leon Miles, Trish Morrow, Isabelle de Muyser-Boucher, Patrick Oger, Morten Peterson, Regan Potangaroa, Linda Poteat, Scott Powell, Kenny Rae, Maxwell Ramnaps, Simon Reeves, Omar Horacio Rincon, Lucy Russell, Farhan Sarwar, Charles Setchell, Meredith Sisa, Elizabeth Stalder, Sara Sywulka, Samuel Treglown, Baard Vandvik, Antonella Vitale, Mia Vukojevic, Wayne While, Tom White, Eric Williams, Nicholas Willson, Vicki Wooding, Jake Zarins, Jürg Zwygart.The fi nancing of this booklet has been provided by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and af  fi liate agencies of Oxfam International.These guidelines made use of material developed in Tents, a guide to the use and logistics of tents in humanitarian relief , (UN/OCHA, 2004) and the scoping study of Timber, a guide to the procurement and use of timber in humanitarian relief , (UN/OCHA 2007) ( The MSF Logistics Catalogue, the ICRC/IFRC Relief Items Catalogue and the MSF technical archives provided essential technical content. Inspiration for these guidelines came from Howard and Spice, 1973 Oxfam Technical Guide Plastic Sheeting: Its Use for Emergency Housing and Other Purposes, Oxfam Publishing. While Oxfam and IFRC have taken all reasonable steps to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the content of this guidance, other than liability for death or personal injury arising from our negligence or for any fraudulent misrepresentation made by us, we accept no liability for any errors or omissions contained within the guidance and we cannot accept liability for any losses suffered, arising out of or in connection with, your use of this guidance.This guideline is copyright © 2007, by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societes, and Oxfam International.  Digital versions of this document are available as a free download at the following websites: French and Spanish editions will be available in print and digital versions in late 2007.
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