Islamabad, November 19, 2012 (PPI-OT): Environmentalists, health, water and sanitation experts have said that Pakistan’s efforts for polio eradication and achieving sustainable development goals are bound to fail, if access to safe sanitation in the country is not improved. They, however, urged for need to raise awareness amongst all stakeholders particularly exposed to bad sanitation about benefits of practicing safe sanitation values.
In his keynote speech to the participants of the World Toilet Day 2012 seminar held Monday at the National Library of Pakistan, Director-General (Environment and Climate Change) of the Ministry of Climate Change, Jawed Ali Khan raising awareness about unprecedented health, social and economic benefits of adopting safe sanitation practices is key to cope with different health diseases, such as malaria, diahorrea, cholera, typhoid, tuberculoses, etc.
The seminar was organized by the Ministry of Climate Change in collaboration with UNICEF, Water Aid- Pakistan and Pakistan Institute for Environment Development Action Research (PIEDAR).
“Considered as real catalyst for change and stimulating process of socio-economic development, Media can also play its critical role in promoting safe sanitation practices among people, particularly women and children having rather more exposure to water in their daily lives,” he remarked.
Jawed Ali Khan said that efforts are underway to achieve access to safe sanitation Millennium Development Goal (MDG) by 2015 deadline, which will help reduce a plethora of health diseases.
“Although we have achieved access to water MDG before the 2015 deadline, but there are some reservations on its quality matters. It is hoped, however, these reservations will be addressed,” said Jawed Ali Khan, Director-General (Environment and Climate Change) of the Ministry of Climate Chang.
World Toilet Day (WTD) is observed internationally since 2001 on 19 November. World Toilet Organization, a civil society organization based in Singapore, created World Toilet Day (WTD) to raise global awareness of the struggle that 2.6 billion people face every day without access to proper, clean sanitation.
World Toilet Day (WTD) also brings to the forefront the health, emotional and psychological consequences the poor endure as a result of inadequate sanitation. World Toilet Day (WTD) is now celebrated in many countries of the world by sanitation and water advocates.
The “Big Squat” movement for the toilet-less is gaining momentum. There were 51 World Toilet Day (WTD) events across 19 countries in 2010. World Toilet Organization strongly encourages its members, volunteers, the community, media and partners to get behind the cause and support the day. UNICEF and Water Aid are among the salient partners.
Talking about state of water and sanitation in Pakistan, Head of the Pakistan Institute for Environment Development Action Research (PIEDAR) Syed Ayub Qutub said only two-thirds of the households have access to flush toilets, either cistern or pour-flush (PSLM, 2010-11, Table 4.8). Another 15% have non-flush toilets, while 18% of the households have no toilets at all. In the rural areas of the country, 27% of the households have no toilets.
This means that some 30-35 million people go out to defecate, daily. Women and older girls find it particularly inconvenient, often having to wait for the relative privacy of the night to defecate in the open, he told the participants of the seminar.
Siddiq Khan, Country Representative of Water Aid – Pakista, said that in Pakistan there are 40 percent people defecate in open and specially when women don’t have safe, secure and private place to go to the toilet they are exposed and put in a vulnerable position.
“This World Toilet Day 2012), we are joining the call of hundreds of organizations around the world, for governments to keep the promises they have made to get adequate sanitation and safe water to the world’s poorest people,” he said.
Country representative of UNICEF to Pakistan for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, Simone Klawitter, told the participants that although Pakistani government struggling hard to achieve water and sanitation MDGs before the 2015 deadline but much needs to be done to make the process of achieving these critical goals faster.
“Its encouraging to note that federal government has pushed with efforts to improve access to safe water and sanitation in the country, but provincial governments also need to join the federal government’s efforts so that state of access to water and sanitation is impoved in the provinces,” Simone Klawitter said.
He opined that UNICEF also appreciate the Sindh and Punjab government for making sanitation policies and allocating funds in their respective budgets to improve water and sanitation. However, there is much for other provinces of the country learn lessons from Sindh and Punjab so that people have adequate and safe access to safe water and sanitation.
The event was attended by high level government officials, representatives of different non-governmental organizations and over 400 school childrens.
Prices were also distributed among schoolchildren, who outshined in different safe water and sanitation poster and model competitions.
For more information, Contact:
Media and Communication
Ministry of Climate Change
Government of Pakistan
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