Human waste a major health hazard for Ileni residents

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Bucket system… For lack of alternatives a resident of Ileni township at Keetmanshoop, disposes of human waste in his yard, as there are no household sewerage services in the area.

Keetmanshoop

Ileni residents are being forced to dig holes in their yards to bury human waste due to the lack of toilets, while some just discard their waste in the open space around their yards.

Many households here do not have access to proper toilet facilities and with the few public toilets usually broken, very dirty and unusable, many residents have resorted to using buckets that they keep in their shacks to use when nature calls.

Residents spoke to New Era about their ordeal, saying they live in unhealthy conditions, as human waste is scattered all around their yards.

Furious residents showed this reporter around some of the holes they dug to dispose of the excrement and while some households have pit holes, albeit very shallow, others simply throw their excrement in their yards.

One affected resident, Erica Tsuses, said they are without toilets and are left with no choice but to use buckets, adding that their yards are the only places they can discard the waste, as going beyond that boundary would mean throwing their excrement into other people’s yards.

“This is the only choice we have. Where else can we throw this? If you throw it outside it’s near someone’s house,” she said, adding that the bucket system is inhuman and unhealthy.

She said when the need arises, members of the household have to go with the bucket to a room that is without people at that time to relieve themselves.

“You have to take the bucket to the kitchen, or bedroom, or whichever room is empty so that you can have privacy,” she explained.
The bucket then has to be washed by hand in order to be ready for use by the next person, raising the prospect of disease proliferation.

Another resident in the same situation is Lesley Frederiks. He says he literally lives in a pit latrine, as there is human faeces all over his yard, which produces an unpleasant stench.

He also pointed out that it is not safe or healthy for children, who might end up playing around the pit latrines or come into contact with the human waste lying around and end up sick.

The residents say their complaints have fallen on deaf ears, as the municipality has done nothing to improve the situation since they were given the erven in 2012.

They accused the municipality of empty promises, saying the municipality on several occasions promised to service the land so they can have their own toilets, but nothing has been done to this day.

Contacted for comment, Dawn Kruger, the municipality’s public relations officer, said the municipality is attending to the problem. She said the situation would soon improve, as the area is being registered as a residential area. Once re-zoned, water and sewerage services will be installed for the 20 affected households.

Ileni township will definitely be serviced before the end of this year, she insisted, adding that the contracted company is already working on the project.

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