Here are few of the notes from my talk about Sanitation for all at Global Philantropy Forum 2014 2014 in Redwood City, USA.
Sanitation is one of the least talked about topic in today’s world and especially in places where poor sanitation is one of the biggest challenge. Probably, one of the reason to this is if sewerage network is underground – it is hidden- and if this is above the grounds – it affects the senses to get rid of this challenge.
But i am here to bring another perspective. We correlate sanitation with slums and villages — but the situation on ground is different. the world’s mega cities in developing countries lives in cities s do not have adequate sanitation infrastructure. it means and more than half of the people living in these cities do not have access to proper sewerage network.
Take the example of Delhi in India– The second largest city in the world – 45% of the Delhi is not connected to the sewerage system. connected to proper sanitation. Rawalpindi, the fourth largest city in Pakistan – 70% of the city did not have any sanitation network in 2004. Still after ten years the situation remains same. the city has no sewage treatment plant. The result is that 85% of the water is not safe for drinking. More than 30% of the deaths are caused directly due to contaminated water.
37% of the India is connected to a piped sewer system.
What does poor sanitation means. It means diseases – that can be avoided. — it means really poor quality of life – worst of all it means – no dignity in life in the millions of people.
I have spent some time in Rawalpindi – where my project SaafPindi was born. In addition to the extreme poor living conditions – smell- insects – – all the food is prepared / sold / directly above open drains. More than 65
Poor sanitation creates two havocs.
1. Diseases – very high death rates and water crisis.
2- The existing water you have becomes un-safe for drinking. And the additional water you get through rains is completely wasted and drained into to sewage drains.
Citizens and Government are the two stakeholders of this problem. The citizens and market conditions have led to the scenario – that we call Africa is mobile first – Villages are becoming motor cycles first – cities are becoming cars first – but we have not adopted the
Same lies with the Governments – If we go through Governments budgets a negligible amount is spent on sanitation and power infrastructures. for commuter science this makes a perfect exercise to build a search engine to search it from budget documents. The Government have recognized – clean water a basic right – in my view basic rights means go and get it yourself.
The solution is — 4 way.
A strong demand from citizens for proper sanitation.
A Governments agenda to move ahead from wonderful written documents and reports and actually start spending on improving sanitation.
A market approach where – solutions and tools to solve the sanitation are traded. And measuring the sanitation in some quantitive terms and move away from qualitative terms. This is where digitized open data of sanitation is important and we in Pakistan work in this direction in Pakistan.