Achieving MDG on sanitation, water not easy, says expert

Kathmandu, August 24:

Much needs to be done to achieve the goal of halving the proportion of population without access to sustainable drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015, an expert said today. The goal can be achieved by localising efforts aimed at meeting the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) on sanitation, the expert said.

Primarily, some amendments should be made in the existing plans and policies to achieve the goal, said Purna Kadariya, secretary at the Ministry of Physical Planning and Works at a national conference on localisation of MDG, organised under the aegis of the UN-HABITAT.

Due to lack of local and long-term plans to increase access to drinking water and sanitation, the situation has failed to improve, said Kadaria. “Improvement of the existing urban infrastructure should be the centre of focus for all organisations,” he said, stressing the need for coordination among all the stakeholders.

Dr Roshan Raj Shrestha, chief technical adviser to Water for Asian Cities Programme under the UN-HABITAT, underscored the need to expand the sanitation and drinking water programmes to the deprived communities of the country.

“Improved situation of every community is the only way to achieve the MDG,” he said.

With the objective of exploring ways to achieve the MDG on drinking water and sanitation, Nepal Municipality Association, with support from the UN-HABITAT, has conducted a pilot sanitation and drinking water programme at Kalaiya, Bara. In the Kalaiya municipality, 56 per cent of the houses do not have toilets and 75 per cent of the population is deprived of safe drinking water.

Construction of tube wells, distribution of arsenic filters, construction of toilets in the households, management of household wastes, construction of biogas digesters and installation of improved cook-stove are part of the programme.

Data have shown that to meet the MDG on water and sanitation, 17 million more people should have the access to safe drinking water and additional 15 million toilets should be constructed in rural areas of the country.