Dawn News

Causing a stink

As ‘World Toilet Day’ is observed globally, 48 million Pakistanis are forced to defecate in the open due to unavailability of toilets. -File Photo/Dawn.com

ISLAMABAD: As many as 97, 900 people died annually due to poor water and sanitation in Pakistan, said a report released here on Friday by an international charity.

The report by WaterAid titled: “Off-track, off-target: Why investment in water, sanitation and hygiene is not reaching those who need it most”, was released by the WaterAid`s Country Representative in Pakistan Siddiq Khan on World Toilet Day being observed on November 19 globally.

It said that 48 million Pakistanis defecated in the open and basic toilet was a distant dream for them.

Pakistan had committed under Millennium Development Goal to supply safe water to 93 per cent and adequate sanitation facilities to 64 per cent of the population by year 2015.

Yet, according to the report, only 45 per cent people used improved sanitation facilities in Pakistan. At current rates of progress the water target would be missed by 7 years (2022) and the sanitation target by 13 years (2028).

The report quoting figures from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Unicef estimated that in Pakistan 54,000 children under the age of five died from diarrhea caused by contaminated water and sanitation every year.

The report said that unless urgent action was taken, the Pakistan Government would fail to meet the MDGs, including the pledge they made to halve the proportion of people without sanitation by 2015. This had massive consequences for child mortality in the country.

WaterAid's Country Representative in Pakistan, Siddiq Khan said the government also must increase the level of spending on water and sanitation, and donor governments increase the share of aid they spend on water and sanitation, so that the situation could be turned around.

Comments (11) Closed

A. Khan
Nov 19, 2011 05:21pm
"48 million Pakistanis are forced to defecate in the open" This statistic is really shocking and depressing and misleading. Why the use of word "forced" ? Nobody is forced to do anything. Why these people cannot build and use a pit latrine is beyond me ? How difficult can it be to that ? Its simple, low tech, relatively low cost and can be built in virtually every village. I guess its a question of educating the people on how to do this. But this is 21st century and information age. Why do Pakistanis ignore or wait for someone to tell them how to do something ?
Nov 20, 2011 01:29am
Just 75 yrs back most of people around were enjoying this way. Young ones used to climb a tree nearby with stones and try to hit the lota...
Agha Ata
Nov 20, 2011 02:02am
Besides 48 million Pakistanis who defecated in the open, there are millions of women in big cities who have no place to go to when out of their homes. Pakistani women are shoppers, they spend hours in bazaars where there are few public toilets for men, and most certainly, none for women. I experienced an incident sometime ago, and also sent the story to Jung newspaper; they published it under the heading "Vo auwrat", but nothing was done about it. I was approached by a young boy hardly 5-6 years old near Empress Market who asked me where the toilet was. I stopped and looked around and saw a young woman in burka sitting on her heels near the wall on the footpath with tears in her eyes, and she covered her face when she saw me looking at her. I did nothing, I could do nothing, I just walked away. People who have been to the Empress Market know that nothing could be done to help that poor lady. How many women go through that agony in Pakistan, everyday, I don’t know.
Nov 20, 2011 06:20am
It is so sad that even the most basic human need is not available to so many pakistani.
Cyrus Howell
Nov 20, 2011 09:18am
It is quite possible for villages to drill and have their own fresh water retained in water in tanks, but outdoor latrines will still be around for awhile.
Riaz Murtaza
Nov 20, 2011 05:27pm
During my 2007 trip to a small town in Punjab, I found things have changed alot. I did not see any sign of people going out in the open for the use of toilet. My daily morning walk to the fields was much better than what it used to be.
Nov 21, 2011 02:56am
Dear pakistani Brothers & sisters, same problem is in my India as well. 60+ years after independence, niether govt nor public has tried to address this. Sad. :(
Nov 21, 2011 08:02am
Agha your story about the lady in Empress Market was really heart breaking. I hope that instead of coming up with totally irrelevant and meaningless ministries, just to give portfolios to our ministers, the government would actually assign a ministry or a department to effectively address such issues. This is the basic right of every Pakistani - without any exception.
Nov 21, 2011 12:24pm
We have built advanced missiles and bombs, but cannot provide a simple toilet to answer basic human need in our cities and villages. A nation is known for how well it looks after its own citizen instead of its military might. Men can ease themselves in the open, but for women it is a matter of dignity. Can we be so insensitive?
Nov 21, 2011 05:24pm
Jayaram Ramesh, India's Rural Dev. Minister made some comments I have seen women in India with a mobile phone in one hand and lota (vessel to carry water for toilet) in the other and going into the fields. That's not the India that we want. The paradox of India is that we have individual hygiene but collective filth. There is private cleanliness, but public squalor. We are comfortable with this great paradox of India.
mehar ali
Nov 21, 2011 07:04pm
Same in Pakistan. People will clean their homes but throw kachra on the street.