04 Oct 2013 01:30
WINDHOEK, 04 OCT (NAMPA) At least 49 per cent of Namibian households are using the bush as a toilet, the baseline study report on Human Rights in Namibia launched here on Wednesday says.
In rural areas, the situation is far worse.
As much as 77 per cent of persons living in rural areas are reportedly practicing open defecation, compared to the 14 per cent in urban areas.
Different newspapers this year reported incidents even in Windhoek where some shop owners had to use baskets or plastic bags for natures call, letting their employees dump the dirt for them. These are all because of a lack of sanitation facilities.
The baseline study report stated that the sanitation situation in the country can at best be described as deplorable.
The right to sanitation has been recognized as an essential component of the right to an adequate standard of living. The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has stressed that sanitation has distinct features, which warrant its separate treatment from water in certain respects, noted the report.
The Ministry of Agriculture Water and Forestry (MAWF) formulated a progressive sanitation strategy to steer sanitation issues in the county.
That strategy, regrettably, does not expressly recognize sanitation as a human right, and its being implemented at a very slow pace.
According to the report, key ministries like the Ministry of Regional, Local Government, Housing and Rural Development (MRLGHRD) have not signed up to the National Sanitation Strategy.
The MRLGHRD is responsible for developing toilets in the rural areas, and continues to construct shared toilet facilities despite the fact that the sanitation strategy embraces the principle of one toilet per household.
The report also highlighted that the same Ministry continues the installation of expensive vacuum sewer systems, despite the fact that both the Water Supply and Sanitation Policy and the Sanitation Strategy advocate for the use of dry sanitation systems.
Furthermore, close to 23 per cent of public schools in the country are reportedly without toilets.
Also, 30 per cent of public schools do not have waterborne sanitation, and are thus unlikely to have water available for hand-washing near the toilets.
An assessment done by the United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF) found that at the current rate of progress, all schools in Namibia will only have adequate toilet facilities for pupils in 2039.