Lack of toilets in SA still a concern

2012-12-05 00:00

ONE in three South African households lacks access to proper sanitation and globally the same problem affects 2,8 billion people.

The magnitude of the task facing more than 1 000 delegates gathered in Durban for the World Toilet Summit was painted in stark numbers at the opening of the event at the International Convention Centre yesterday.

Figures released by Jack Sim, founder of the World Toilet Organisation, revealed almost 40% of the world’s population had no ablutions to speak of.

He said the wealthy should be leading the drive for proper sanitation because rich homeowners could find themselves living next to slums.

“We should look at the poor as customers … if we can build one billion toilets then that is big business for the toilet industry,” he said.

The opportunities in this regard were significant in Africa, which was growing at a faster rate than the rest of the world, and was more peaceful than it has ever been in recent history.

Sim said the biggest challenge that would have to be addressed was the exodus of people from rural areas to urban areas.

Not only does this migration put pressure on food security, but it also places a burden on sewerage systems because more informal settlements spring up with no proper sanitation.

Beauty Dambuza, chairperson of the portfolio committee on Human Settlements, said the lack of basic services such as water supply and sanitation were a key symptom of under-development. “The right of all South Africans to have access to water and sanitation is enshrined in the Constitution.”

She added: “South Africa has made considerable strides towards ensuring access to basic sanitation. Over the last decade, households’ access to improved sanitation facilities increased from 58,6% to 68,9%.”

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