Civic Issues

Formation of Civil Society Groups suggested for raising Water and Sanitation issues

The groups consisting of lawyers, journalists and other civil society members should exert pressure on local government authorities – participants of workshop discuss sensitizing the issues

Pakistan had pledged in ‘Sanitation and Water for All’ meeting held in Washington in 2010 for providing masses the access to water and sanitation facilities being their fundamental and constitutional right.     

Sukkur: The participants of a training workshop have suggested formation of civil society groups in each district of Sindh for sensitizing the water and sanitation issues and exerting pressure on local government authorities for addressing the problems.

Integrated Regional Support Program Pakistan (IRSP) with the Support of Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) held training session with community based organizations, lawyers, journalists and representatives of the civil society on the Sanitation and Water issues here on Tuesday.

Executive Director IRSP Syed Shah Nasir informed the participants that in 2010 Pakistan had attended a meeting of SWA in Washington DC where Water and Finance Ministers of the 18 Countries had pledged to provide Sanitation and Water right to their People and in this regard they will devise strategies and Plans.

He said that sanitation and water is not only a fundamental right of the citizens but also a constitutional right. “UNICEF in a report has revealed that 53 thousand children bellow the age of five years in Pakistan die of Diarrhea and other waterborne diseases every year in Pakistan,” he told.

He said that 39000 Schools are deprived of latrine while 57 percent population of the Sindh province is deprived of Hygienic drinking water. “Seventy-nine million people in Pakistan do not have access to a proper toilet facility,” he said adding that rural areas where there are majority of poor households, the people are worst affected.

“Contamination levels in water are much higher in rural districts and there is virtually no treatment of water at the household level. The fecal waste is also finding its way into surface soil and into the water used for irrigation,” he told.

Shah Nasir said that access to water, sanitation and hygiene services varies across the country including Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Punjab Provinces. “Open defecation is higher in rural areas than urban areas of Pakistan”.

During the session the representatives of community-based organizations, especially the woman participants, proposed formation of water and sanitation groups comprising of journalists, lawyers and the civil society in their respective districts to sensitize the Water and Sanitation issues and to put pressure on the local government to address these issues on priority basis to protect the population from the water-borne diseases like hepatitis and others. (PR)

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