KMC to be ODF even without enough public toilets

KMC, the largest local body of the country ,has done precious little to be declared ODF zone. The Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration in the first week of July issued a circular to all local levels, including Kathmandu Metropolitan City, requesting them to expedite works to declare the country an open defecation free country by the end of September.

However, KMC, the largest local body of the country, has done precious little towards this end. Sanitation experts said availability of public toilets was one of the major prerequisites to declare big cities like KMC an ODF zone, but KMC had not been able to build public toilets in sufficient number and seemed least bothered to do the needful. Despite the fact that KMC has very few public toilets, it is planning to declare the city ODF zone by the end of this month. A three-member research committee formed by the 28th municipal meeting of K a t h m a n d u Metropolitan City in 2018 was authorised to study how many public toilets were required to address sanitation issue in the metropolis.

The committee had suggested that it would immediately need at least 68 public toilets inside KMC. The committee also suggested KMC should bring toilets owned by petrol pumps for public use. A high-level KMC official told THT that the local government was going to declare the city ODF zone without taking into account the number and condition of public toilets.

According to a research done by GUTHI, an organisation that works in the field of water and sanitation, there are a total 37 public toilets inside Kathmandu Metropolitan City. There are additional 114 toilets at government offices, hospitals, business complexes, parks and religious sites, which are open for public use.This number is insufficient considering the population of the city. Prakash Amatya of GUTHI said such toilets served at least 300 to 1,000 persons, each day.

Environment Department of KMC had recently formed a six-member research committee to recommend various measures to be adopted to declare Kathmandu Metropolitan Cityan ODF zone. But, the research committee could not come up with any concrete measures. Hari Kumar Shrestha, head of the department, said they had carried out a survey in six wards inside KMC and found that people with toilets at their house did not defecate in the open. “We are taking this as the major criterion to declare KMC an ODF zone,” he added.

Source: The Himalayan Times 14th August,2019

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