Plea to ensure sanitation as right

KATHMANDU: The government has been urged to ensure water and sanitation as ‘constitutional rights’ in the new statute.

“The new constitution should give public recognition to the sanitation issue for minimising the effect of various diseases as well as for ending inequality that prevail in the society,” said Advocate Basanta Prasad Adhikari. He said the main challenges regarding the sanitation issues are availability of resources, capacity of state and cultural sensitivity. He opined that sanitation was a human right and the state should guarantee it by mainly focusing on vulnerable and marginalised groups.

Rabin Lal Shrestha, research and advocacy manager, WaterAid Nepal, said 14.2 million Nepalis do not have access to sanitation and 7.1 million lack access to safe drinking water. More than 50 per cent of those without sanitation and almost two thirds of those without safe drinking water live in Tarai region.

Addressing a media briefing, he said half the population in Nepal has no access to sanitation and a quarter has no access to safe drinking water. He said water and sanitation are essential for living healthy and dignified lives.

Shrestha said urgent action is required to accelerate progress toward the governments’ target to provide access for all by 2017 and added Nepal needs an annual investment of Rs 7.5 billion to achieve its target of water and sanitation. Inadequate access to water and sanitation are responsible for 10,500 child deaths in Nepal. About 2.5 billion people lack access to sanitation globally, which is 46 per cent of the total population in Nepal.