Kathmandu, July 5
The Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration has issued a circular to all local levels, including Kathmandu Metropolitan City, requesting them to expedite the process of ensuring that Nepal becomes an open defecation free country.
In response to a letter received from the Ministry of Water Supply yesterday, the MoFAGA told local levels to declare their concerned areas as ODF by September 30. A meeting of the Steering Committee for National Sanitation Action had made a decision to coordinate with the concerned districts and local levels to declare remaining places as OFD zones as soon as possible, said Dipendra Nath Sharma, MoWS secretary.
According to the MoFW, 11 districts and their 63 local levels remain to get the status of ODF zones to declare Nepal as an ODF country. KMC is among the places where people still practice open defecation.
Following execution of National Sanitation and Hygiene Master Plan-2001, Nepal witnessed social momentum and improvement in sanitation for a few years with several rural municipalities, municipalities and districts being declared ODF. As per statistics released by the MoWS, basic sanitation facilities and toilets have now increased to 95.5 per cent of the country’s households from 43 per cent in 2011.
“In 2011 the government and political parties took an oath to initiate this campaign and make Nepal ODF by 2017, but the campaign could not gain momentum despite tireless efforts of all three tiers of government, development partners and communities. Now we are making a last-ditch effort to meet the target within September 30,” the MoWA claimed. It said Nepal could not pave the way for journey to total sanitation and Sustainable Development Goals until it was declared an ODF country.
“Nepal will be an ODF country after construction and utilisation of around 25,000 toilets,” Secretary Sharma said. Lack of adequate public toilets in urban areas, including KMC, has remained an obstacle of the ODF programme. There are only a handful of public toilets to cater service to huge mobile population. Recently, KMC had identified 69 places for constructing public toilets. Currently, the metropolis has 62 public toilets, out of which only 28 are usable while rest are in need of repair.
A version of this article appears in print on July 06, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.