In choosing the 2020 World Toilet Day theme, the United Nations recognises that “everyone must have sustainable sanitation that can withstand climate change and keep communities healthy and functioning”.
“MIHR has observed that after the destruction that happened in Gwanda where houses, school classroom blocks and shops were destroyed by the storm, surprisingly, not even one toilet was destroyed,” MIHR said.
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) also joined the rest of the world in commemorating the World Toilet Day.
The lawyers grouping implored local and central governments to accelerate implementation of sustainable sanitation.
“The aspiration to have safe toilets and achieve sanitation for all is contained in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6, which is pivotal to helping break taboos around toilets and making sanitation for all a global development priority,” ZLHR said.
“World Toilet Day, which is a UN designated day, is commemorated each year on November 19 to inspire action to tackle the global sanitation crisis and raise awareness of the 4,2 billion people living without access to safely managed sanitation.”
ZLHR said through a resolution which was adopted in July 2013 declaring World Toilet Day, the UN seeks to encourage member States and other stakeholders to encourage behavioural change and the implementation of policies to increase access to sanitation among people, along with a call to end the practice of open-air defecation, which is harmful to public health.
“In Zimbabwe, recent revelations contained in a report entitled Management of Sewage Systems by the Urban Local Authorities under the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing published by the Auditor-General’s Office are unsettling.
“The report revealed that the majority of people living in Zimbabwe’s urban areas were exposed to drinking sewage-contaminated water due to poor sanitation management systems provided by local authorities,” ZLHR said.
“The Auditor-General’s assessment reflects the adverse health effects caused by poor sanitation and water supply.
“ZLHR is worried by the perennial failure by local authorities and central government to manage sanitation systems and to allocate financial resources, which sadly has led to unnecessary loss of lives due to the outbreak of some waterborne diseases such as cholera, typhoid and diarrhoea, which are preventable diseases that can only be eradicated when sanitation is properly managed.”
ZLHR said it was sad to note that these violations were taking place at a time citizens’ right to a clean environment was now explicitly guaranteed in section 73 of the Constitution and in section 77 of the Constitution which provides for the right to safe, clean and potable water.
It implored local authorities to fully account for all the funds charged to ratepayers for water and sewerage in order to progressively contribute towards the realisation of the right to a clean environment, health care and safe, clean and potable water.
lFollow Silas on Twitter
Do you have a coronavirus story? You can email us on: