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Nepal: Over one thousand households without toilets in Kathmandu

KATHMANDU: Believe it or not, still 1,309 households in Nepal’s Capital city Kathmandu lack toilet in their homes.

This has prevented Kathmandu from becoming an open defecation free zone (ODF).

Out of 436,344 households in Kathmandu, 435,035 households have toilets, which is 99 per cent coverage as part of declaration the district as ODF.

By now, 64 districts have so far been declared as ODF, according to the records of the Department of Water Supply and Sewerage under the Ministry of Water Supply.

Officials from the government, Kathmandu Metropolitan City, and sanitation experts have, however, said there were several challenges to declare Kathmandu district as a complete ODF zone.

They have expressed their concerns in declaring Kathmandu as ODF at an interaction programme entitled ‘Role of Media in Water and Sanitation Sector of Nepal,’ organised by WASH Media Forum on Tuesday in Kathmandu.

Devendra Kumar Jha, Environmental and Sanitation Section Chief of Department of Water Supply and Sewerage, and Member Secretary of National Sanitation and Hygiene Coordination Committee, said that Kathmandu was not declared as ODF is due mainly to faecal sludge management problem in the Bagmati and other major rivers of Kathmandu.

“Building the remaining 1,309 toilets in Kathmandu is not a big challenge but the management of faecal sludge that comes out from our homes into the Bagmati and other tributary rivers pose major challenges,” Jha said.

Managing the faecal sludge problem of the rivers of Kathmandu requires Kathmandu Metropolitan City’s direct intervention to control this immediately by managing separate sewerage system alongside the rivers, he said.

Ishwor Man Dangol, spokesperson at Kathmandu Metropolitan City, said that the KMC is serious towards the issue of declaring Kathmandu as ODF and doing homework to address the issue.

The national goal of meeting cent per cent result in ODF is expiring in mid-July, 2019.

Secretary at the Ministry of Water Supply Dipendra Nath Sharma said that maintaining proper sanitation and sewerage systems required serious behavioural changes and positive attitude among the individuals.

Going into total sanitation concept as envisioned by Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) is more challenging to Nepal than meeting the national goal in ODF declaration, secretary Sharma said.

Presenting overall national sanitation status of Nepal, Jha said that districts like Bhojpur, Solukhumbu, Dolakha and Kavre have cent per cent coverage of toilets but these districts are yet to be declared as ODF, according to Devendra Kumar Jha,

There are now nine districts which are yet to be declared ODF, and 37,450 households in these districts still do not have toilet facility, according to Jha.

The districts without toilet access include Kathmandu, Sindhupalchowk, Kapilvastu, Parsa, Mahottari, Dhanusha, Morang, Sarlahi and Bara.

The least progress was achieved in Bara district where the ODF coverage is just 93.20 per cent.

The latest ODF declared district is Dhading, which was declared ODF on April 7, 2019.

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