Burkina Faso: sanitation costs a lot, but it's not a luxury
Updated - Wednesday 23 January 2008
With the installation of proper toilet facilities at several local markets in Ouagadougou, the sanitation situation has improved, especially during the rainy season when pitt latrines get full of water. Fees of about five cents are collected from those who use the facilities. It is hoped that this will encourage people to also build and use a toilet at home. According to the National Office of Water and Sanitation  (ONEA), only 10 per cent of residents of Burkina Faso have toilets of acceptable quality. Outside of Ouagadougou and Bobodioulasso, the two main cities, the rate is about two per cent.
In a city where issues of waste management have largely been disregarded, this initiative forms part of a broader effort to improve sanitation, and prevent liquid and solid waste from contaminating ground water. Officials put the overall cost of the project, which also focuses on drainage of rainwater, at about US$ 19.5 million (EUR 13.5 million).
Slowly, sanitation starts to be a key part of basic infrastructure, says Arba Jules Ouédraogo, director of hygiene at ONEA. The government has committed itself to improving the rate of access to sewerage services in Ouagadougou to 59 per cent. Authorities have started to implement new regulations banning housing development in Ouagadougou without sanitation.
The toilets cost about US$ 2,000 (EUR 1,380) each (or US$ 1,700 = EUR 1170, for a portable one), which is a substantial amount in Burkina, where 27.2 percent of people live on less than a dollar a day.
 Office National de l'Eau et de l'Assainissement
Related news: Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou: contaminated hand dug wells, Source Weekly, 29 Jan 2007
Source: Brahima Ouedraogo, IPS, 31 Dec 2007
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