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Push for more toilets on track

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Ministry of Rural Development's spokesman Chan Daron said at a press conference on Monday. Heng Chivoan

Push for more toilets on track

An official from the Ministry of Rural Development said on Monday that as of last year, 80 per cent of Cambodians had toilets to use and 65 per cent had access to clean drinking water.

The Kingdom aims for all Cambodians to have access to clean water and toilets by 2025.

At a press conference on the progress and goals for the ministry, its spokesman Chan Daron said 80 per cent of citizens had toilets last year, up from 71 per cent in 2018.

Citizens who had access to clean water last year hit 65 per cent, up from 58 per cent in 2018, he said.

He also said that even though more citizens had toilets, many villagers still defecate outdoors.

“Some have toilets but move their bowels behind their houses. The toilets were not used. Sometimes we ask them why they do not use the toilet, and they answer that they are not used to doing so.

“They leave the toilets to brothers and sisters coming from Phnom Penh to use. So, we have to encourage them to change their mindset.

“Using sanitary facilities is important. Some citizens understand it, but others move their bowels outdoors and bury it. This is not good and negatively affects health and can lead to diseases.

“If they have diseases, they can’t work and make a living. They have to spend money on medicine,” he stressed.

Daron said last year, the ministry had placed greater importance on the issue by encouraging citizens to build 342 toilets, 2,017 latrines and 2,043 latrines with ash covering.

“We have attached greater importance on promoting rural hygiene. Last year, we attained achievements. We encouraged citizens in the countryside to take part in building toilets in communities for target villages in 12 provinces,” he said.

He said 3,776 families were encouraged to build toilets in Kep, Koh Kong, Kratie, Pailin, Oddar Meanchey, Siem Reap, Kampong Cham, Kampong Speu, Kampong Chhnang, Svay Rieng, Tbong Khmum and Preah Sihanouk provinces.

He also said a majority of women and children had the task of collecting water far from their homes for daily use. They carried water on their heads and shoulders.

To help, he said last year the ministry built 3,607 pumping wells, repaired 1,156 others and built 222 ponds.

Unicef said last year that Cambodia had the highest rate of people defecating outdoors. Eight out of 10 poor people in the countryside moved their bowels in the fields, it said.

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