Open defecation still a scourge in Valley

Kathmandu, March 26

Open defecation is rampant in areas with high floating population in Kathmandu. Although government organisations, I/NGOs and civil society are trying to make Kathmandu a cleaner place, all such attempts have gone in vain so far.

According to Department of Water Supply and Sewerage, there are still 17,427 households without toilets in their houses in Kathmandu. Besides, open defecation is rampant at major junctions, overhead bridges, chowks and footpaths.

“Besides ensuring toilet access to the remaining households, the problem of open defecation by the floating population needs to be checked for the district to be declared open defecation free,” said Prem Krishna Shrestha, chief of the Department’s Environment Sanitation Section.

He said the department had set the target of making Kathmandu open defecation free district by the end of the current fiscal by ensuring basic toilet facility for the remaining households. Of the 435,667 households in Kathmandu, 418,240 households have access to toilets.

“We are optimistic that we could declare Kathmandu an ODF district within the current fiscal after the remaining four per cent people, who defecate in the open, are ensured basic toilet facility,” said Shrestha.

According to the department, Kathmandu could be declared ODF after ensuring that 100 per cent households have access to toilets. Once, Kathmandu is declared ODF district, the government plans to launch sanitation programmes targeting squatter settlements and the floating population. Building public toilets and operating more mobile toilets could be part of the programmes.

Of the three districts in Kathmandu Valley, Bhaktapur has already been declared ODF district, while 6,587 households still do not have access to toilets in Lalitpur.

According to data DWSS, 38 districts have been declared as ODF across the country so far.