Kathmandu, February 15:

Experts working in Water and Sanitation (WATSAN) sector today stressed on the need to have access to drinking water and proper sanitation facilities to improve the health condition of human beings.

Speaking at a workshop on ‘Urban Water and Sanitation Issues in Nepal’ jointly organised by Guthi, UN-HABITAT and Environmental Population and Health Organisation (ENPHO), Rajesh Manandhar, WATSAN coordinator said that the Nepal government even though having fairly good plans on water supplies and sanitation facilities, didn’t have satisfactory implementation and monitoring system.

He added that the government sector was not serious on managing drinking water and sanitation facilities in the time of rapid urbanisation. He also said that urban people faced with greater sanitation problems in the nation.

According to Manandhar, about two million people die every year of diarrhoea where most of them are children below five years. He added that around 1.1 billion people around the world did not have access to improved water supplies whereas 2.4 billion were deprived of improved sanitation facility. Kamal Adhikari from Environmental Sanitation Sector of Department of Water Supply and Sewage said that only 76 per cent of people had proper drinking water supply while only 46 per cent had proper sanitation facility.

According to Adhikari, Nepal government aimed at hundred per cent access to water supply and sanitation facility by 2017. He added that the Nepal Government would also construct 320,000 toilets annually to meet the national goal.

“80 per cent of rich people and only 12 per cent of poor people have access to toilet facilities while 54 per cent still defecate in open space,” he said, adding that only 76 per cent population had access to water supply.

Shikha Shrestha, coordinator of End Water Poverty Campaign said that global sanitation and water crisis reflected the failure of the government to provide basic necessities to the people.

“To achieve hundred per cent success in WATSAN, there is a need of national and international institutions to monitor, coordinate and drive the progress,” she added.

Similarly, Padmaja Shrestha from ENPHO and Pushkar Mathema, an environment journalist had presented papers on importance of safe water and role of media.