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SANITATION CAMPAIGN

BACKGROUND

The Strategic Framework for Water Services (2003) defines sanitation services as “The provision of a basic sanitation facility which is easily accessible to a household, the sustainable operation of the facility, including the safe removal of human waste and wastewater from the premises where this is appropriate and necessary, and the communication of good sanitation, hygiene and related practices.”

In line with the National Development Plan, the Sustainable Development Goals, the Strategic Framework for Water Services and the Water Act (Act36 of 1998),South Africa is accelerating the provision of water, hygiene and sanitation services for restoring dignity of all, thereby improving the health and safety of especially women.

There is still, silence and socially unacceptable stigmas related to feminine hygiene including menstruation; throughout the developed and developing world.

Drought is endemic to South Africa and presents a major challenge to the achievement of sustainable development. The impact of the current drought conditions is resulting in water restrictions and is causing substantial socio-economic hardships, a decline in public health, land degradation and bio-diversity loss. It exacerbates the challenges of especially women, as menstruating women and girls use more water for personal hygiene and washing of re-usable towels, access to toilets both at home, school and the places where they find themselves.

The Department of Water and Sanitation accordingly implement the following health and hygiene education approaches:

  • Health and hygiene education delivery as part of local health service programmes.
  • Health and hygiene in schools.
  • Health and hygiene education in emergency programme (disasters and outbreaks).
  • Health and hygiene as part of other health promotion activities and internationally recognized days.

This sanitation campaign is in support of the above approaches and will seek to elevate discussions, education and awareness around sanitation issues, focusing on the themes around health and hygiene, the impact on our environment and natural resources, as well as sanitation innovations and technologies.

The campaign will run from October to November 2016.

PILLARS OF THE CAMPAIGN

Basic sanitation is described as having access to facilities for the safe disposal of human waste (faeces and urine), as well as having the ability to maintain hygienic conditions, through services such as garbage collection, industrial/hazardous waste management, and wastewater treatment and disposal.

Currently, the security of water supply and sanitation service is further threatened through environmental degradation and resource pollution. Poor sanitary habits impacts health, education, the environment, and industries such as tourism

The efficient use of water is compromised as a result of the incorrect disposal of feminine hygiene products as well as other object such as nappies, etc. This product end up in the waste water treatment works (WWTWs) that is operated by municipalities. At times, it is directly dumped into our river, streams, wetlands and other fresh water eco system etc. As a result these products end up in our fresh water system and it impacts the use of water and availability of water.

Health and hygiene, the environment and technology forms the pillars of the sanitation campaign.

  1. Health and Hygiene: The enormous volumes of sanitary towels and disposable diapers produced as well as the threat they pose to the environment; are real. Diapers and sanitary towels finally end up in a landfill since there is no option to dispose in a safe manner. Improper solid waste dumps and management system create serious negative environmental impacts like infectious diseases, land and water pollution, obstruction of drains and loss of biodiversity. Every sanitary towel or disposable diaper saved from a landfill will have a cascading effect and positively impact forests, water, air, the city and the entire environment.
  2. Environment: The enormous volumes of sanitary towels and disposable diapers produced as well as the threat they pose to the environment; are real. Diapers and sanitary towels finally end up in a landfill since there is no option to dispose in a safe manner. Improper solid waste dumps and management system create serious negative environmental impacts like infectious diseases, land and water pollution, obstruction of drains and loss of biodiversity. Every sanitary towel or disposable diaper saved from a landfill will have a cascading effect and positively impact forests, water, air, the city and the entire environment.
  3. Technologies: In many parts of the country, girls can miss up to 5 days of school a month or drop out entirely due to insufficient access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities and menstrual hygiene products. Improving access to WASH facilities can actually increase girls' attendance at school.
  4. There isn’t a standardized way of disposing a sanitary towel at schools or households. Part of the discussions to be had during this campaign, will start to raise the issues around a humane way to handle this kind of waste.

    The promotion of eco-friendly or biodegradable sanitary towels, reusable instead of only disposable nappies and alternative technologies will be discussed during the course of this campaign.

    Given that South Africa is a naturally arid country, the application of dry household sanitation and the larger discussion around bucket eradication across the country; will also find expression.

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