By David Smith in Addis Ababa
The Guardian, Thursday 28 August 2014 1014
Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, has more than 3 million people, but there are just 63 public toilets. At one, in the oldest part of the city, there is constant activity and bustle as people queue to pay varying prices for a urinal, full cubicle or shower in the white-tiled facility inside a circular yellow building. For many, this is the only option because of the lack of provision in their own homes.
Nine in 10 households use “non-improved” toilet facilities, according to the Wash Ethiopia Movement. The most common type of non-improved toilet is an open pit latrine or pit latrine without slabs, used by 57% of households in rural areas and 43% in urban. Only one in 25 households has access to improved toilet facilities which are not shared with other households.
Mesay Berhanu, a spokesman for the movement, said: “Many people have shared toilet facilities which they would not find very comfortable. They might have to line up for some time to make use of the facilities. As a result, you may find people doing it here or there along the street.”
Government figures show that diarrhoeal diseases are among the 10 most prolific in the country. “These are one way or another linked to an unhygienic environment,” Berhanu added.
Waste can accumulate because service providers are stretched. “There is a huge problem in liquid waste management. The number of vehicles they have to collect it is limited. People might have to wait two or three months. We have a very small number of private operators in liquid waste collection.” Progress has stalled, Berhanu said, because of bureaucracy. “A year ago there was a plan to create more than 1,000 public toilets, but there is a lack of co-ordination between different departments of government.…” READ MORE www.theguardian.com