Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, June 14:

Five journalists were awarded today for publishing praiseworthy articles on the importance of sanitation during the Sanitation Week - 2004. The competition was held among the media persons in March by Nepal Wash Group and Nepal Forum for Environment Journalists. Arun Baral of Jana Aashta weekly was awarded with the first prize which carries a purse of Rs 15,000 and a letter of appreciation while Sangita Rijal of The Kathmandu Post got second prize. Sarada Rijal and Rishi Acharya of Radio Sagarmatha were jointly awarded with the third prize for running "Chitikka" - a radio magazine. Sunil Neupane of the Annapurna Post was awarded with the consolation prize.

"Media houses should emphasise more on issues related to sanitation as it is directly related to public health," said the first prize winner. "A collective campaign should be launched by the media to create sanitation awareness among the public," he said. "Lack of coordination among the organisations working in the field of sanitation is a major cause for the failure of sanitation programmes to achieve the desired goals," said Rabin Lal Shrestha, research and advocacy manager, Water Aid. Each year 10,000 toilets have to be constructed in remote areas and 4,000 in urban areas if Nepal has to fulfil her commitment to provide safe sanitation to the people by 2015 BS, he informed. Nirmala Sharma, of Federation of Nepali Journalists, said, "Women are most affected due to the lack of toilets in public places."