70% of Household Drinking Water Sources in Indonesia are Polluted with Feces

17cff38e-6be5-4064-bcc9-f8f43011a0ef_169 A study in 2020 found that nearly 70 percent of the 20,000 household drinking water sources tested in Indonesia were contaminated with fecal waste. Photo by: CNN Indonesia/Hesti Rika

Source: CNN Indonesia
Date: February 10, 2022

Jakarta, CNN Indonesia - Nearly 70% of the 20,000 household drinking water sources tested in Indonesia in a new study were contaminated with fecal waste and contributed to the spread of diarrheal disease, a leading cause of under-five mortality. This was stated by UNICEF which launched a new campaign for safe sanitation, on 7 February 2022.

The UNICEF campaign titled #DihantuiTai aims to provide Indonesian families with an understanding of safe sanitation and the impact of water sources contamination by feces on public health.

Through this online campaign, UNICEF calls on Indonesian households to install, inspect or replace their septic tank and regularly drain the tank at least once every three to five years.

#DihantuiTai takes inspiration from films and television shows that are popular among Indonesians. In this campaign, the 'stool eradication' team has a mission to save areas haunted by feces.

As part of this campaign, UNICEF has launched a website www.cekidot.org which contains practical tips for families to ensure the safety of septic tanks and contact information for tank cleaning services.

"Safe sanitation can change children's lives and open up opportunities for them to realize their potential," said UNICEF Interim Representative Robert Gass.

"Unfortunately, there are so many children living in areas affected by unsafe sanitation and this threatens every aspect of their growth."

Indonesia has made significant progress in improving the quality of basic sanitation. However, the number of households that have toilet facilities with closed septic tank connections and who regularly clean their tanks at least once every five years is less than 8 percent.

As a result, fecal waste is not managed properly so it pollutes the environment and surrounding water sources.

One of the main challenges in increasing access to safe sanitation is the low public awareness of the public health risks resulting from inadequate septic tank management and the low frequency of tank draining—many families do not yet understand the importance of connecting toilets to the sewer system by pipes or that the septic tank needs to be cleaned regularly.

Currently, the Government of Indonesia is developing a roadmap for accelerating access to safely managed sanitation with support from UNICEF and several other partners. In addition, a high-level conference (KTT) on Sanitation and Drinking Water for All will be held in Jakarta in May.

The summit will be attended by ministers in charge of water, sanitation, health, environment, and economy from around the world to discuss accelerating access to drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene.

"The pandemic period raises attention to the importance of living in a clean environment," said Gass.

"Sanitation that is not managed properly can weaken children's immune systems, causing permanent effects, even death. Through this campaign, we hope that more and more Indonesians will take a more role in managing household sanitation in order to improve the health and well-being of children and their families." 

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