San­i­ta­tion Cri­sis

Southasia - - Briefing -

In­au­gu­rated un­der the theme of “San­i­ta­tion En­hances Qual­ity of Life”, Sri Lanka hosted the Fourth Asian Con­fer­ence of San­i­ta­tion (SACOSAN IV) last month in Colombo.

Par­tic­i­pated by 450 del­e­gates from Pak­istan, In­dia, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Mal­dives and Afghanistan, the Con­fer­ence de­lib­er­ated on strate­gies to pro­vide san­i­ta­tion fa­cil­i­ties to the un­cov­ered 700 mil­lion-plus peo­ple in the re­gion within the stip­u­lated dead­line of the Millennium De­vel­op­ment Goals 2015.

“The MDG clock is tick­ing away. It is very easy to be dis­cour­aged,” said Daniel Toole, UNICEF Re­gional Di­rec­tor for South Asia. But since there was a re­newed sense of ur­gency, all the stake-hold­ers had to work harder to achieve the goals, he added.

Mr. Toole noted that be­tween 1990 and 2008, san­i­ta­tion cov­er­age in South Asia had in­creased from 22 per cent to 35 per cent. In to­tal num­bers, this brought 310 mil­lion per­sons ac­cess to san­i­ta­tion. He in­formed the par­tic­i­pants that open defe­ca­tion had also fallen to 58 per cent from the pre­vi­ous 81 per cent dur­ing this pe­riod as In­dia has been sanc­tion­ing more funds for ru­ral san­i­ta­tion and has also been en­cour­ag­ing com­mu­nity lead­ers to take a lead in in­creas­ing aware­ness.

F.R. Me­hta, the WHO Coun­try Rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Sri Lanka said di­ar­rhoeal dis­eases are the sin­gle largest rea­son for the death of 1.5 mil­lion chil­dren un­der the age of five. Bet­ter san­i­ta­tion could eas­ily pre­vent a ma­jor­ity of these deaths, he urged.

Speak­ing on the oc­ca­sion, Di­nesh Gu­nawar­dena, Sri Lankan Min­is­ter for Wa­ter Sup­ply and Drainage in­formed his au­di­ence about the Sri Lankan gov­ern­ment’s ini­tia­tives for pro­vid­ing bet­ter san­i­tary and wa­ter sup­ply fa­cil­i­ties to its peo­ple. He also pointed out the im­por­tance of me­dia and the strong role that it can play in ed­u­cat­ing the masses about san­i­ta­tion.

The United Na­tions es­ti­mates a stag­ger­ing 2.6 bil­lion of the world’s pop­u­la­tion who do not have ac­cess to im­proved san­i­ta­tion fa­cil­i­ties. Around 72 per cent of this 2.6 bil­lion live in Asia alone.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Pakistan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.