Today we are witnessing silent sanitation crisis that is trickling like a time bomb affecting billions of people of the world. Of the seven billion people, 2.4 billion people do not have access to improved sanitation. 1 billion people still defecate in open, 1,000 children die each day due to poor sanitation. Many women’s and children becomes victim of poor health and crimes somewhere due to lack of toilet.
In Nepal even though the sanitation coverage has reached to 70.28% comparing to mere 6% of 1990 coverage the functionality of structure is neglected. The issue of public toilet is another big challenge for the disabled population who comprises nearly 15% of the total population. Lack and delayed initiation for constructing differently able friendly toilets hinder the component of inclusive WASH provisioned by the Sanitation and Hygiene Master Plan. There are various issues of WASH for physically challenged people that go unheard and unaddressed.
In this staggering and sobering backdrop regarding the accessibility of toilet, GUTHI is commemorating the World Toilet Day 19 Nov in partnership with WaterAid Nepal this year to reflect on the challenges and necessary intervention needed for the differently able people. The focused group interactions shall be held on 19th November, with the members of Visually Impaired at GWAHALI to raise the pressure to make toilets more inclusive and dignified and with the members of National Association of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (NADH) on 23 Nov.
To sensitize the sanitation issues among the school going children on 18th Nov. GUTHI with the support of International Rainwater Harvesting Alliance (IRHA) carried out the toilets cleaning activities with the participation of the students of Vishwo Niketan High School (public), Tripureshwor and teachers.
Addressing the function Tripti Rai, Country Representative for WaterAid Nepal, said, “For the first time in history, more than half the world’s population lives in towns or cities. By 2050, that’s expected to rise to two-thirds. For many, particularly the poor, who have moved to towns or cities in search of work or born into the urban population, find themselves in overcrowded and rapidly expanding informal settlements which lack safe, private toilets and clean water sources. Diseases like cholera or typhoid can spread further and faster without proper sanitation and hygiene practices and an outbreak found in an informal settlement can quickly become a city-wide, national or international epidemic. This World Toilet Day, we are calling on national leaders to deliver on their promises to meet the UN’s Global Goal 6 to bring water and sanitation to all, because everyone – no matter where they live – deserves affordable access to these life essentials.”
Prakash Amatya, Country Representative to AEROSAN urged that the investments in the school sanitation are urgent and it is a key to change the sanitation paradigm of the coming generation. One child dies every two minutes from diarrhoeal diseases caused by dirty water, poor sanitation and hygiene. Globally 159 million children under five have their physical and cognitive development stunted; many of such cases are caused from repeated bouts of diarrhoea attributed to dirty water, poor sanitation and lack of hygiene.
The school toilets cleaning camping kicked off with the massive welcoming by the students, received the cleaning equipment from GUTHI and commitment was made to continue it in the days to come.
Notes to the Editor:
1. Globally 700 million people live without access to safe water and 2.5 billion people lack access to improved sanitation (JMC, 2014)
2. One in ten people has no choice but to defecate in the open (WHO/UNICEF, 2005)
3. Every year 7,900 children die from diarrhea and diseases caused by dirty water and poor sanitation (WaterAid Nepal)
4. Disease transmission at work, mostly caused by poor sanitation and hygiene practices, causes 17% of all workplace deaths (International Labour Organisation, 2004)
5. Loss of productivity due to illnesses caused by lack of sanitation and poor hygiene practices is estimated to cost many countries up to 5% of GDP compared with households in the highest wealth quintile in the same country (Moe, C.L., & Reigans, R.D., 2006)
6. A case study from Ethiopia, the additional cost of providing inclusive sanitation is only 2 to 3 % (Water, Engineering and Development Centre)
7. 15% of people worldwide are affected by disability (over 1 billion people) (World Health Organisation)
8. Among the poorest of the poor in low-countries as many as 1 in 5 individual are likely to be disabled (Jones, H. & Reed, R.A., 2006). These same households are 5.5 times more likely to lack improved water access and 3.3 times more likely to lack adequate sanitation, diarrhoea caused by poor sanitation and unsafe water kills 315,000 children every year (WASHwatch 2016).
9. An estimated 15% of the world’s population has a disability and that 80% of those reside in developing countries (World Report on Disability, 2011)
10. According to National Federation of Disabled (NFDN),
- Over 30,00,000 people with disabilities, out of which 80% are illiterate
- In Kathmandu Valley only, there are 68 public toilets and no any disabled friendly toilet has been made yet.
- Government of Nepal has planned to provide basic sanitation facilities to at least 53% of household in in country by 2017.
11. Master Sanitation and Hygiene Plan:
- It has given guideline for the total sanitation which integrates inclusive WASH as an integral component and request for the disabled friendly toilet and every institution and public space.
12. According to a survey conducted by School of Engineering, Department of civil and geomatics engineering, Kathmandu University –March 2015 for WaterAid Urban programme using mWater mobile survey apps it was reported that the number of toilet have increased to 84% in Kathmandu Valley
This World Toilet Day, we are calling for:
· Everyone living in urban areas, including slums, to be reached with a toilet to ensure public health is protected
· More money, better spent from governments and donors on sanitation, clean water and hygiene for the urban poor
· Coordination from all actors in the sanitation chain including governments, city planners, NGOs, the private sector, informal service providers and citizens
· Sanitation workers to be given the respect they deserve with stable employment, safety and decent pay. Without them healthy communities and cities are impossible.