Sanitation and disposal awareness for World Toilet Day

USING  the toilet is the most private of functions for a human being: since the advent of modern sewage systems, a clean, functioning toilet area is a prerequisite of the home.

But even in the cit, where your average urbanite would probably be aghast at the thought of a home lacking a toilet, lack of access to proper sanitation is something that still exists.

This poses a problem to both the environment and the health of the immediate neighborhood, wherein there are still cases of human waste being dumped in the river or other waterways, or even buried in the sand, as in the case of some seaside communities.

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On November 19, the United Nations will commemorate World Toilet Day, an event created to raise awareness on the lack of access to proper sanitation in parts of the world and how it contributes to disease and other social maladies.

In the city, this is already evident as according to the Environmental Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources XI, the Davao River has far exceeded the total coliform “safe levels” of 200 milliliters for every 100 liter of water sampled.

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Ma. Soccoro Mallare, representing the EMB at the Watershed Summit back in September, said it was primarily unchanged human waste disposal practices that greatly affect the sanitation of our waterways and the health of those living in areas without proper human waste disposal.

“Laws like the waste disposal ordinance and septage law can only go so far, attitudes and practices of the residents really have to change,” she has said in a previous interview with TIMES.

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The Department of Health XI through their environmental and occupational health program manager Gloria Raut, has said among the effects of being exposed to water high in bacteria and other pollutants include nausea, diarrhea, cholera, other gastrointestinal complications, and even polio.

World Toilet Day is also part of the UN’s pledge to make sanitation a global development priority as it was included in the Sustainable Development Goals for everyone across the globe to have access to a functioning toilet by 2030.

Efforts by government offices like the Davao City Water District to provide communal toilets in communities with no access to piped sanitation, and a planned P300 million septage treatment facility by the local government to collect and treat waste before it is released to the waterways; are some of the methods official are looking into to improve practices and attitudes about where our bodily wastes end up. (with reports from Jesse Pizzaro Boga)

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