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Global call to action on World Toilet Day to achieve sanitation goals by 2030 — Global Issues


On World Toilet Day on November 19, the global community faces an urgent health crisis affecting 3.5 billion people. Credit: Lova Rabary-Rakontondravony/IPS
  • Notice by Thokozani Dlamini (Pretoria, South Africa)
  • Inter Press Service

Even today, 3.5 billion people lack safely managed sanitation facilities, and 419 million people continue to resort to “open defecation,” a condition that encourages the spread of disease and claims the lives of 1,000 children under the age of five every day. This health crisis, which poses a danger to human health and the environment, disproportionately affects women, girls and other vulnerable groups.

With only seven years remaining to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 6 by 2030 – ensuring safe water for all – the global community must accelerate its efforts to ensure the 2030 Agenda is achieved.

Our current pace, coupled with insufficient funds, growing demand, deteriorating water quality and inadequacies in existing governance frameworks, seriously threatens the achievement of this goal.

In keeping with this year’s theme – “Accelerate change” – it is imperative that we accelerate our global efforts to achieve the UN’s 2030 goal. Governments and major institutions must work in synergy, take responsibility for their promises and deliver on them in a timely manner. In fact, every individual, regardless of the scale of their contribution, has a role to play in accelerating this progress.

Implications of poor sanitation

The consequences of poor water and sanitation are widespread and deleterious, severely affecting people forced to use unsanitary toilets or consume and use contaminated water. Sanitation-related diseases, such as diarrheal diseases, cholera, typhoid fever, hepatitis A, and various parasitic infections, pose significant risks to public health.

These illnesses can lead to widespread illness, hospitalization, and even death, especially in areas where access to clean water and adequate sanitation is limited. Improving sanitation infrastructure can reduce the burden of these diseases and improve public health globally.

Benefits of Good Sanitation

Absolutely, having good sanitation facilities indeed has many advantages. They go beyond improving public health. Adequate sanitation infrastructure can reduce health care costs because there are fewer cases of sanitation-related diseases. It can also increase productivity because individuals are healthier and can devote more time to work. studies or other activities.

This results in a better quality of life for individuals and their communities. Additionally, good sanitation infrastructure contributes to environmental sustainability. It helps reduce pollution since waste is properly managed and does not end up contaminating water bodies and other natural environments. A safe and clean environment in turn helps protect vital natural resources, including sources of drinking water.

Collaborative Efforts

Governments, donors, the private sector and non-governmental organizations all play an important role in developing sanitation infrastructure. They must cooperate and work coherently to provide water and sanitation services effectively. In addition, research institutes can contribute by providing the necessary scientific knowledge and technological innovations. This joint effort will not only contribute to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, particularly Goal 6, but will also improve public health and well-being globally.

SADC-GMI efforts

SADC-GMI has made commendable efforts by implementing various projects in SADC Member States to ensure that everyone has access to water and sanitation in line with the United Nations 2030 Agenda. These initiatives have had a positive impact on local communities by ensuring a continuous supply of water which ultimately leads to better hygiene. Beyond hygiene, these water projects have also brought greater economic benefits to communities. Indeed, the projects are transformative, helping communities access a reliable water supply for domestic and economic uses.

These projects, despite the complications posed by climate change, continue to thrive and be sustainable. This resilience greatly benefits communities, providing them with constant water for various needs. This is linked to achieving the sanitation targets set by the United Nations 2030 Agenda.

Yes, as the 2030 deadline of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals approaches, rapid progress is needed to ensure that everyone has access to basic sanitation and clean water. Sanitation and clean water are human rights, and access to these services is crucial for human health and environmental integrity. To this end, cooperation between different sectors – governments, donors, the private sector, research institutes and civil society – will be essential to facilitate this progress.

Thokozani Dlamini is a specialist in communication and knowledge management SADC-GMI

© Inter Press Service (2023) — All rights reservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service


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