World Toilet Day was celebrated for the first time in 2013 after the United Nations General Assembly adopted Singapore’s decision to dedicate 19 November as the day for raising awareness about the global sanitation crisis.
Almost half of Egyptians are deprived of sewage services, while 1 million people are deprived of clean water sources, according to Yahia Shawkat, research director at 10 Tooba for Applied Research on the Built Environment.
World Toilet Day aims to focus on sanitation problems, as 1 billion people around the world live without toilets, in addition to 2.4 billion – 40% of the world population – lacking good sanitation.
Shawkat said the Egyptian government is busy launching and executing new sanitation projects without detracting from completing old and existing projects.
Sanitation is connected to 19% of Egyptian villages
Minister of Housing Utilities and Urban Communities Mostafa Madbouly said that the coverage of drinking water across the country currently amounts to about 96%, while the coverage rate of sanitation is about 56%.
Madbouly added that the areas receiving drinking water are divided into 83% of urban cities (189 out of 227 cities), 15% of rural areas (687 villages and 190 hamlets out of 4,700 villages).
The minister further noted that sanitation services are currently connected to 19% of villages (896 villages and 115 hamlets).
He pointed out that 26 projects for drinking water are being implemented with investments of EGP 3.47bn, as well as 25 sewage projects with investments of EGP 3.92bn, in Alexandria, Ismailia, Suez, and South Sinai, along with eight governorates in Upper Egypt and six governorates in the Delta.
First Deputy Minister of Housing Randa El Menshawy said in a press statement that the total number of villages in Egypt is 4,802 villages, of which 911 villages have sanitation services, with a percentage exceeding 19%. Meanwhile, the ministry is currently working on connecting sanitation services to 957 villages, bringing the total to 1,160 villages, or 24%, with sanitation services.
Deprived governorates’ villages
According to statistics by the Holding Company for Water & Wastewater (HCWW), there are 28 villages lacking infrastructure in Qena governorate, only 17% of villages enjoy sanitation service in Kafr El Sheikh, and only one third of the villages in Menoufiya governorate have sanitation services.
Beni Suef has about 1,000 homes suffering from the absence of sanitation services.
As for the Giza governorate, 97% of the governorate is provided with drinking water and 54% with sewage services, while 60% of the villages in Minya governorate are without sanitation services.
In Daqahleya, more than 36 villages in the governorate are deprived of sanitation services. Furthermore, there are 234 hamlets and five villages deprived of sanitation services in Ismailia.
Most foreign funding and grants go to infrastructure projects
The Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation estimated the volume of funding managed by the ministry at about $26bn to finance various projects in Egypt, of which $16.1bn are grants and loans for infrastructure in all governorates of Egypt.
The ministry indicated that the entities providing Egypt with assistance in this sector are the World Bank, the Saudi Development Fund, Germany, the African Development Bank, Spain, France, the European Investment Bank, the European Union, Austria, the Kuwait Fund For Arab Economic Development, and the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development.
Proper toilets could save the lives of more than 200,000 children in the world
On the occasion of World Toilet Day, the UN said in a statement that weak sewage systems ultimately lead to an increased risk of infection for children and women. One in three women worldwide do not have access to safe toilets.
According to the UN statement, 2.5 billion people in the world do not have access to proper sanitation.
The UN stressed that the situation is critical and that confronting the sewage challenge requires global partnership. Reaching the goal of providing sanitation services is in need of developed, targeted policies, increased funding, and comprehensive planning based on strong political will.
Meanwhile, the provision of proper toilets could save the lives of more than 200,000 children in the world, said the UN.