Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Rural latrine access on the rise, gov’t finds



Rural latrine access on the rise, gov’t finds

A woman stands next to a new latrine installed on a property in Kampong Speu as part of a sanitation project in 2013.
A woman stands next to a new latrine installed on a property in Kampong Speu as part of a sanitation project in 2013. Sen David

Rural latrine access on the rise, gov’t finds

The Ministry of Rural Development on Friday announced that more than half of Cambodians now have access to improved sanitation such as latrines.

According to the ministry’s statement, 47 per cent of Cambodians now lack access to improved sanitation, compared to 89 per cent in 1990.

The goal is to bring that number down to 40 per cent by 2018 and to zero by 2025, according to Chea Sophara, the minister of rural development.

“It is our pride that in the last two decades we decreased the number of people lacking sanitation to 47 per cent in 2015,” Sophara said in a statement.

He also boasted that the number of people with access to both improved latrines and clean water had risen to 46 per cent of Cambodians, up from 23 per cent in 2008.

Natascha Paddison, a deputy representative of UNICEF, who joined the ministry in celebrating National Sanitation Day on Friday, said that the Cambodian government and relevant NGOs must work together to make the 2025 goal a reality.

“Developing sanitation is the first step for local authorities to develop [healthy habits] in their communities,” she said.

The ministry’s latest figures are more optimistic than the World Bank’s, which found that only 42 per cent of Cambodians had access to improved sanitation such as flush toilets, latrines or composting toilets in 2015.

Cambodia remains behind many of its neighbours in providing sanitation. About 71 per cent of Lao PDR’s population has access to improved sanitation, according to the World Bank numbers.

In Vietnam, that proportion reaches 78 per cent and in Thailand, 93 per cent.

Other World Bank statistics as of earlier this year showed that as many as 66 per cent of Cambodians still practise open defecation, like Seng Sors, a 47-year-old man living in Oddar Meanchey’s Samrong town.

“We live in the rural area and also in the wild,” Sors said in an interview. “We do not have a latrine because we did not have money to build it and it’s our custom to defecate anywhere.”

Consequences include high rates of diarrhoea, skin disease, respiratory illness and intestinal and other waterborne diseases.

Diarrheal infections alone kill a fifth of Cambodian children aged 5 and below, and cause an estimated 10,000 deaths annually, according to UNICEF.

However, attitudes are starting to change, as in the case of Cham San, a Kampot resident.

“Now, we changed our custom because we need sanitation,” said San, who also said she wanted to protect her daughter. “I need a latrine for [my family]. We do not go in the wild – it would be very dangerous for us.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Would you like fries with that? US burger chain makes Phnom Penh debut

    California-based The Habit Burger Grill restaurant chain is all set to serve up a delicious array of charbroiled burgers and sides at its newest international location in the centre of Phnom Penh. The Habit is “renowned for its award-winning Charburgers grilled over an open flame,

  • Angkor provides ‘valuable’ water storage

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) has stored millions of cubic metres of water at reservoirs in the Angkor area after Cambodia experienced a series of rainstorms over the last few days. The storing of the water, besides serving temple conservation, will also be used to

  • Banteay Meanchey floods kill one more as death toll reaches 15

    As floodwaters start to recede in Pursat, Battambang and Pailin provinces and Phnom Penh, Banteay Meanchey continues to bear the brunt as one more person was killed on Monday, bringing the total number of flood-related deaths to 15 in the province this month. Banteay Meanchey provincial

  • Floods prompt evacuations in Kampong Speu

    Rain-induced floods and water flowing from Kampong Speu province have submerged the houses of 1,527 families living close to the Prek Thnot River in Spean Thma, Tien, Kong Noy and Roluos communes in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district, according to data from local authorities. Spean Thma

  • Serving coffee with a side of robots

    The eye-catching glass building surrounded by greenery at the intersection of Streets 371 and 2002 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district is more than just another coffee shop where you can while away a few hours. UrHobby House cafe is filled with robots and characters from

  • Banteay Meanchey flood victims receive aid

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday provided aid to more than 10,000 families affected by flooding in Banteay Meanchey province’s Mongkol Borei district and offered his condolences to the 18 victims who drowned in the province over the past week. He said flooding had occured in