Zim commemorates World Toilet Day amid increased open defecation

Zimbabwe joined the international community in commemorating 2015 World Toilet Day Thursday. The United Nations reports that 2.4 billion people do not have adequate sanitation and 1 billion people still defecate in the open.

This year’s celebrations come in the wake of concerns that Hararians are simply defecating everywhere, including in the city centre, behind shop buildings and open spaces.

To make matters worse, most public toilets in central Harare and high density suburbs are not functional or closed due to lack of water while others have been taken over by vendors who now use them as storage facilities. For example, the public toilet located at Charge Office Bus terminus is opened at about 9am and closed by 5pm when council workers knock off work. This means people end up urinating and excreting outside the toilet thereby posing a huge health hazard. Increased open defecation practices can also be witnessed at Kamunhu Shopping Centre in Mabvuku where the public toilet is often locked despite high human traffic at the area.

At Makomva Business Centre in Glen View, the public toilet operates in the absence of running water and this again poses health hazards to residents especially given that food and meat are openly sold by vendors despite the presence of a haven of flies.

Community Water Alliance Chairperson, Hildaberta Rwambiwa says sewage bursts and poor sewerage treatment by Harare City Council has worsened the situation. “Despite the fact that in Harare Urban most people use toilets, the use of toilets is rendered useless by unattended sewerage bursts and failure to treat sewerage by the City of Harare at Firle and Crowborough treatment plants, “ says Rwambiwa who also warns stakeholders to be alert of a health hazard in the city saying, “We warn council, residents and critical stakeholders that non treatment and unsafe disposal of human excreta from toilets have serious public health consequences that are characterised by the spread of diseases and pollution of river systems hence urgent action must be taken.”

Currently diarrhea is the fourth highest cause of death for children under five in Zimbabwe, and is the reason for 12% of child hospital admissions.

Currently there are 90 public toilets in central Harare and although council says 88 are working, most of them have no running water, especially those that offer free services.

These situations buttress the findings of The 2014 Africa Water and Sanitation Report which indicated that Zimbabwe is currently regressing in terms of access to sanitation, in 1990 access to sanitation was at 66% and by 2013 it was at 59%.

The aim of World Toilet Day is to raise awareness about the people in the world who don’t have access to a toilet, despite the fact that it is a human right to have clean water and sanitation.

Warren Park receives 3 boreholes

In an effort to ease water shortages, The Latter Day Saints Church has drilled three boreholes in Warren Park.

Speaking during the handover ceremony of the boreholes, Council Environment Management Committee chairperson Councilor Herbert Gomba said the boreholes will help alleviate serious water problems in the suburb. "We want to church the Church for this good gesture. This area has been facing serious water shortages and the boreholes donation will alleviate these problems as our residents now have water. Our vision is to achieve a world class status by 2025 and one of the major tenets is the availability of portable water to all our residents. Our wish is to provide tap water but because of depressed capacity, we are not able to cover all households in the city,” said Gomba.

Local legislator for Warren Park, Ellias Mudzuri urged residents to make sure the boreholes are maintained at all times. “Residents need to take the responsibility and make sure these boreholes are kept in good order. Donors who gave us these boreholes cannot be expected to look after them so let's make sure we protect and maintain these boreholes. For example, each household can contribute say 50cents per month towards maintenance and repair of these boreholes. This will guarantee water supply,” suggested Mudzuri.

Harare City Council is currently producing 500 mega-litres of water per day, which is only one – third of the daily water demand of 1 500 mega - litres that should be pumped at Morton Jaffray Water Works.

To end perennial water shortages in the capital city, council says it needs US$1.3billion to kick start the Kunzvi/Musami Dam Water project believed to be the solution to current water crisis.

Caledonia residents to fork out US$56 million

Caledonia residents to fork out US$56 million

A total of US$56 million is required to fully provide services such as water, roads, electricity, schools and health care in Harare’s newest suburb, Caledonia.

Local Government minister, Saviour Kasukuwere told Caledonia residents on Friday that without this amount of money, there will be no development in the suburb.

“For this area to access service delivery, a total of US$56 million is needed and that money must come from you (residents). Each resident must pay US$50 monthly without fail if you want to access services such as water, roads and street lighting,” said Kasukuwere amid murmurs of disapproval from the residents.

Responding to the call, one unidentified resident stood up and urged the minister to reduce the monthly payment. “Minister, we are happy because of your visit here but we are appealing for your kindness. The US$50 monthly charges that you want us to pay are too much and un - affordable. Most of our husbands are not working and money is hard to come-by,” pleaded the woman.

However, Kasukuwere could not have none of it saying there was nothing for free. “You cannot expect to get everything for free, you have to pay up because for other services like air time for mobile communication you have been paying up. If you are paying airtime daily, why can’t you pay for installation of water and sewer pipes?” Sarcastically asked the minister.

Caledonia is a former holding camp for people who were affected by the infamous 2005 Operation Murambatsvina that displaced thousands of families with government claiming it wanted to bring sanity in the country. So far, 19 000 residential stand holders have successfully completed a registration exercise meant to bring order in the area. Those who have been registered will soon be issued with lease agreements. Layout plans for the area have been developed and Harare City Council will partner with government to open a new formal school in January 2016.

Meanwhile Harare City Health Director Dr Prosper Chonzi has toured Caledonia satellite clinic in order to familiarize with the health requirements at Harare’s newest suburb.

Health personnel at the clinic presented Dr Chonzi with a list of requirements for the clinic that include medicines, furniture and other medical equipment.

Located east of Harare, Caledonia has over 23 000 households and a population of over 120 000 people.

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