26-05-2022 by redazione
Kenya's socio-economic development, which in recent years has created opportunities but also discrepancies, improved the condition of tens of thousands of families but also plunged another 2 million people below the threshold of daily survival, undoubtedly has its own fine problems. Among them is the continuing process of urbanization, with people taking rural spaces, cutting down forests and invading savannas to settle there, live there and try to live especially on the fruits of the land.
Faced with the overpopulation of certain areas that were once huge spaces without population centers, the institutional flaws of so-called unsustainable development come to the surface.
In recent days, officials from the Department of Water and Sanitation have raised the alarm about millions of Kenyans in at least 47 counties of the country defecating under the open sky, having neither private toilets nor being able to use public facilities to do so.
The data transmitted by the Ministry of Health are significant and raise concern about the possibility of epidemics brought by water facilitated by the rainy season. With 26 percent (one in 4) of Kenyans lacking indoor toilets, nearly 4.5 million people in Kenya are responding to the call of nature outdoors where ever they happen to be.
A year and a half ago, in the midst of the pandemic, the government began in some regions where the problem is very evident (Kwale County on the coast, Turkana (where 70 percent make it under the sun or stars) Samburu and Marsabit in the north, Tana River and Mandera in the east) an awareness campaign coinciding with the construction of public latrines. A good start but still insufficient to solve the problem. The biggest problem is water coverage, because latrines must have water.
More than one might think and beyond ancestral customs, today the real threat becomes disposal, precisely because, for example, rainwater has always been a resource of local people in the face of droughts and poor public supply. But also because of the presence of human feces in public places frequented by children and animals, not to mention beaches with risk of further ocean pollution.
Building sanitation facilities, public toilets should be a priority for the government, just as social initiatives that prioritize this now evident deficiency would be welcome. Even in schools, for example, there are inadequate facilities, very few, for example, have gender-divided toilets, sufficient water, and storage facilities for trash (e.g., for tampons).
"The situation is still dire," said the head of the Department of Sanitation, Fidelis Kyengo, "In some schools it has affected learning and many girls have dropped out. Much needs to be done."
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