Sri Lanka to establish R&D for South Asian sanitation access
Minister of City Planning and Water Supply, Rauff Hakeem says that Sri Lanka intended to set-up a regionalresearch and development (R&D) centre to develop South Asia’s access to toilets.
A 3-day conference will be hosted in Colombo from Monday (11) to evaluate advancements made towards promoting better access to appropriate sanitation facilities within South Asian countries, which will result in the South Asian Regional Centre for Sanitation being formed in Kandy in the near future.
According to Hakeem the newly formed centre will conduct R&D establishing itself as a regional hub of distinction in toilet hygiene.
“Sanitation has become the most challenging social service priority in the South Asian region,” he said.
However, hygiene in Sri Lanka far outpaced other countries in the region, with around 98.5% of the population having access to appropriate toilets and “open defaecation” having fallen to around 1% contrasted to 14%recorded some years back.
India records the highest number of “open defaecation” in the region and to remedy this problem PM Narendra Modi inaugurated the “Swachch Bharat” programme to promote social hygiene in his country intending to eliminate public defaecation by 2019.
However, UNICEF statistics reveal that that only one in two Indians used a toilet, highlighting the monumental effort the government of India faced in reaching its 2019 goal.
In 2015 former Indian cricketer, Sachin Tendulkar inaugurated a programme in Colombo with the aim of encouraging South Asian children to adopt proper hygiene practices, going so far as to demonstrate the proper way to wash hands with water and soap before consuming food in order prevent contracting diseases.
A R&D initiative will allow enterprising entities to offer innovate and technologically savvy methods towards the programme. Collaborating with the centre will open up the entire South Asian sanitation sector to any potential investor.
|Article Code :||VBS/AT/11092017/Z_7|