World Toilet Summit tackles sanitation

21st of November 2012
World Toilet Summit tackles sanitation

The 12th World Toilet Summit will open in Durban, South Africa, next month - it takes place from December 4-6.

Minister of human settlements Tokyo Sexwale will officially open the event, which is being held in Africa for the very first time. The global sanitation solutions forum is taking place at a time when at least 2.5 billion people in the world still do not have access to adequate sanitation - almost two-fifths of the world's population.

Without proper toilet facilities, one child dies every 15 seconds from diseases such as diarrhoea caused by oral faecal contamination, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Jack Sim, founder of the World Toilet Organisation (WTO), who is hosting the summit through the South African Toilet Organisation (SATO), said that despite many initiatives by government ministries and non-governmental organisations to tackle the issue of African sanitation in particular, they have not been extensive enough.

"The reasons for such neglect are numerous," he said. "Part of it has to do with the fact that
sanitation is considered a taboo subject. Other reasons rest on demographic and population shifts - and others still rest on the fact that little investment has reached those who need it most due to mismanagement."

Of South Africa's households, 1.4 million or about 11 per cent have no sanitation or services. A further 26 per cent where infrastructure does exist are on the brink of collapse.

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