FEATURE: Lack of sanitary toilets, unsafe water threaten the poor

Wenna Berondo (The Philippine Star) - November 2, 2012 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - A DSWD field worker arrived in the community for a special meeting with beneficiaries.

Right after she alighted from the motorcycle, she approached a woman resident and begged if she could use their toilet to urinate. The woman asked her to wait for a while and returned a few minutes later with a bucket made from a gallon of tomato ketchup.

“Sorry ma’am, we don’t have a toilet but you could use this instead,” handing the field worker the improvised urinal. It could be an uncommon scenario but not an unusual problem.

In Region 6 (Western Visayas), seven out of 10 poor households have no sanitary toilets. They use open and closed pit and some have no toilet facilities at all, exposing them to threats of contracting various diseases.

Among the six provinces of the region, the data from the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) show that Negros Occidental has the most number of households without sanitary toilets with 85,285.

In the same province, only 30,616 households are using water sealed toilets while 7,180 are using closed pit, 12,603 are using open pit and 2,980 are using pails and other improvised toilets.

Iloilo came in second with 19,379 households without sanitary toilets; followed by Antique, 13,956; Capiz, 4,602; Aklan, 4,540 and Guimaras, 3,470.

The lack of sanitary toilets may also result to possible contamination of water sources as most of the poor households in the region do not have access to potable water.

The NHTS-PR database reflects that six out of 10 poor households in Western Visayas do not have access to potable water as they get their drinking water from dug wells, peddlers, springs, rivers and collected rainfall. Also, three out of 10 poor households avail of drinking water from shared tubes or piped wells.

The province with the highest number of poor households without safe drinking water is Negros Occidental with 48,113 households getting their water from dug-up wells; 23,603 from springs, rivers, etc.; 38,852 from shared tube and piped wells; 16,605 from shared faucet and community water system; 5,035 from water peddlers; 4,310 from their own faucet and water system; 1,613 from their own tubes/piped wells; and 533 from collected rainfall.

Most poor residents in the provinces of Capiz and Guimaras, also get their water supply from dug-up wells, with 20,697 and 6,144, respectively.

Shared tube/piped well is the common water source in the provinces of Iloilo, 43,761; Antique, 12,118 and Aklan, 9,190.

Health officials said unsafe water and lack of proper sanitation are among the main causes of diseases like diarrhea, typhoid fever, cholera and hepatitis A especially among children. —(FREEMAN)

AKLAN CAPIZ CAPIZ AND GUIMARAS HOUSEHOLDS ILOILO IN REGION NATIONAL HOUSEHOLD TARGETING SYSTEM NEGROS OCCIDENTAL POVERTY REDUCTION WATER WESTERN VISAYAS
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