Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has called on government to allocate adequate resources and work with local authorities to ensure citizens have a safe toilet by 2030.
In a press statement to mark World Toilet Day on Monday, ZLHR implored government to allocate more resources and increase the budget allocation on water, sanitation and hygiene thereby contributing to achieving the 15 percent allocation to health as provided in the Abuja declaration.
This year`s commemoration is running under the theme, When nature calls” which aptly focuses on nature-based sanitation solutions.
“Access to a safe functioning toilet has a positive impact on public health, human dignity and personal safety for everyone,” ZLHR said.
“Of concern is the pervasive practice of open-air defecation, which is extremely harmful to public health. The failure by local authorities to manage sanitation systems is a cause for concern.”
The organisation said the failure “by local authorities and central government to allocate adequate resources has led to unnecessary loss of lives due to cholera and typhoid outbreaks.”
“It has been observed that where there is lack of adequate sanitation, human waste often finds its way returning to the environment untreated, eventually polluting water sources and negatively affecting human health development and sustainable communities.”
In Zimbabwe, lack of functional, adequate sewage reticulation and lack of access to potable water continue to cause outbreak of waterborne diseases.
“Local and central government must provide clean running water and sanitary environs to prevent the spread of deadly diseases and to rapidly improve the sustainability of our communities through providing nature-based sanitation solutions.”
Meanwhile, ZHLR said that it is alarming that 38 years after independence, Zimbabwe is not on track to reach SDG 6.
“While ‘World Toilet Day’ exists to inspire people to take action towards achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 which aims to achieve sanitation for all.”
“It is unsettling that Zimbabwe is contributing to the estimated 4.5 billion people who are living without safely managed sanitation.”
ZLHR implored all Zimbabweans to play their part and ensure the enjoyment of the right to a clean environment.
“It is provided in section 73 of the Constitution, and the right to safe, clean and potable water provided in section 77 of the Constitution. These rights can only be realized when everyone plays their part and prevents the contamination of the environment by human waste.”