Lawmakers want more toilets built along highways in cities

Legislators want the number of public toilets and sanitary facilities along major highways, urban and peri-urban centers and districts to increase in the country.

Members of the Uganda Parliamentary Forum on Water Sanitation and Hygiene (UPF-WASH) said there is an increase in prolonged rains and open defecation and open urination is a recipe for disease burden such as diarrhoea.

“Along the highways we should have distances where public toilets are installed. Toilets should be in markets, health centers, public facilities and should include bathing facilities. They can be managed privately or by the local government,” said Basil Bataringaya (Kashari North) on Monday.

Bataringaya along with other UPF-WASH members addressed the media in Parliament on the growing negative effects of climate change impacts on water, sanitation and hygiene.

Bataringaya said many parts of Uganda have experienced floods, broken bridges, mudslides that have resulted in loss of life and affected food security. Bataringaya said they want the government to increase funding for water, sanitation, hygiene to enable the fight against the negative impact of climate change on the environment and people. Funds should support activities such as tree planting campaigns.

Bataringaya said he would raise a question in Parliament asking the government to look at how it is taking advantage of the abundant water and abundant sunshine.

Bataringaya explained that the government can invest in rainwater harvesting technologies so that the cost of water is reduced in markets, health centers and schools for use in toilets and bathrooms. He observed that during the rainy season and on rainy days, excess water can be trapped in reservoirs and valley dams.

“While we complain about excess water and sun, Egypt is happy when excess water flows through the Nile River for their use,” Bataringaya added.

Isaac Joakino Etuka (Upper Madi County) said that in his constituency, family members have to wake up at 5:00 in the morning to travel 20 km to fetch dirty water for domestic use. Women travel long distances with children to fetch water from distant water sources.

He said at least three students had recently lost their lives due to snake bites while they were on long treks to fetch water.

Etuka said that in urban centers and local governments, people defecate in open spaces and throw garbage along the roads.

Etuka said government should start budgeting for water, sanitation and hygiene in all government ministries, departments and agencies, including local governments.

Jacqueline Pinyahwa, UPF-WASH coordinator said UPF-WASH and ACORD (Uganda Cooperation Agency for Research and Development) said the two institutions and many others are collaborating to improve WASH outcomes in Uganda.

Pinyahwa said some of the results relate to improving access to safe and affordable drinking water, which is threatened by climate change.

She noted that reports on Uganda’s health sector show that only 31% of health facilities in Uganda have basic water, 12% have basic sanitation and 43% have basic waste, showing a poor state of WASH in health care facilities.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *