July 25, 2024, Thursday
Nepal 1:37:26 pm

Good toilets are important for public health, discussed on World Toilet Day

The Nepal Weekly
November 18, 2021

Minister for Water Supply Umakant Chaudhary said that toilets are one of the big problems in Nepal. This can be solved working with government institutions, development partners and other stakeholders. He stated that the toilet facility in traveling along the highways is more troublesome. He was addressing virtually a programme organised on Wednesday on the occasion.

Similarly, Secretary at the Ministry of Water Supply Pramila Devi Shakya (Bajracharya) urged the development partners and donor agencies to investment on good toilets for Nepal. She cited that investing one dollar on toilets can return benefits worth of five dollars. The reports say that only 47% of schools have toilets with water facility, 31% is with limited water facility and 23% do not have water facility. Similarly 17% schools lack water and sanitation facility, so the school children are compelled for open defecation, She added.

Similarly, 36% health related service centres lack basic water facility, 8% do not have toilet and 54% do not have hand wash facility and materials needed. Thus, quality of toilets should be well considered while growing the number of toilets, Shakya stressed. She further stated that women are much deprived of toilet facility in the highways and other sectors. They face additional problem due to lack of facility for women in the menstrual period.

The workshop programme was organised in Kathmandu by jointly organized by Ministry of Water Supply and Smart WASH Solutions with support of UNICEF Nepal, Water-Aid Nepal, Pokhara WASH Industries Pvt. Ltd. and International Water Management Institute.

Valuable information and thoughts based on studies and experiences were shared by experts on the occasion. The experts elaborated that rivers should be well clean for overall better environment which is possible by having good toilets. Likewise, policies and imparting knowledge for installation and uses are also equally important for the governments of all three levels.

Toilet has several names like restroom, latrine, and many others. Many of us have experienced and endured the threat of being locked in a toilet if a child does not read well. It is sometimes argued that the toilet, which is indispensable for life and synonymous with cleanliness, is viewed with so much hatred and disgust.

World Toilet Day (WTD) is an official United Nations international observance day on 19 November to inspire action to tackle the global sanitation crisis. Worldwide, 4.2 billion people live without “safely managed sanitation” and around 673 million people practice open defecation. Sustainable Development Goal 6 aims to “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all”. In particular, target 6.2 is to “End open defecation and provide access to sanitation and hygiene”. When the Sustainable Development Goals Report 2020 was published, United Nations Secretary General Antionio Gueterres said, “Today, Sustainable Development Goal 6 is badly off track” and it “is hindering progress on the 2030 Agenda, the realization of human rights and the achievement of peace and security around the world”.

World Toilet Day exists to inform, engage and inspire people to take action toward achieving this goal. The UN Assembly declared World Toilet Day an official UN day in 2013, after Singapore had tabled the resolution (its first resolution before the UN’s General Assembly of 193 member states). Prior to that, World Toilet Day had been established unofficially by the World Toilet Organisation, a Singapore-based NGO in 2001.

Toilets are important because access to a safe functioning toilet has a positive impact on public and personal safety, especially for women. Sanitation systems that do not safely treat excreta allow the spread of disease. Serious soil-transmitted diseases and waterborne diseases such as cholera, diarrhoea, typhoid, dysentery and schistosomiasis can result.

 “Valuing Toilets” is theme for the World Toilet Day this year.