AN ASSESSMENT OF THE IMPACT OF PUBLIC PIT TOILET SYSTEM AND ITS ASSOCIATED PROBLEMS
1.1 Background of the study
A pit toilet is a type of toilet that collects human feces in a hole in the ground. They use either no water or one to three liters per flush with pour-flush pit latrines. When properly built and maintained they can decrease the spread of disease by reducing the amount of human feces in the environment from open defecation. This decreases the transfer of pathogens between feces and food by flies. These pathogens are major causes of infectious diarrhea and intestinal worm infections. Infectious diarrhea resulted in about 0.7 million deaths in children under five years old in 2011 and 250 million lost school days. Pit toilets are the lowest cost method of separating feces from people.
A pit toilet generally consists of three major parts: a hole in the ground, a slab or floor with a small hole, and a shelter. The shelter is often known as an outhouse. The pit is typically at least 3 meters (10 feet) deep and 1 m (3.2 feet) across. The World Health Organization recommends they be built a reasonable distance from the house balancing issues of easy access versus that of smell. The distance from groundwater and surface water should be as large as possible to decrease the risk of groundwater pollution. The hole in the slab should not be larger than 25 centimeters (9.8 inches) to prevent children falling in. Light should be prevented from entering the pit to reduce access by flies. This may require the use of a lid to cover the hole in the floor when not in use. When the pit fills to within 0.5 meters (1.6 feet) of the top, it should be either emptied or a new pit constructed and the shelter moved or re-built at the new location. The management of the fecal sludge removed from the pit is complicated. There are both environment and health risks if not done properly.
A lot of public toilets poses very serious problem to the people of Udi Local Government Area of Enugu state and also to other places across the country. The problem of open defecation which some people often refer to as going to the bush or bush shitting has persistently been difficult to address in Udi Local Government Area of Enugu state and Nigeria because of the unavailability of good public and home toilets both in the cities and local communities or villages. A lot of people live without proper sanitation in Udi and these people have to decide on daily basis how to organize defecation without feeling ashamed or fear.
Pit latrines may or may not be an enjoyable experience to use. Problems may occur when the pit latrine is shared by too many people, is not cleaned daily and not emptied when the pit is full. In such cases, flies and odour can be a massive nuisance. Also, pit latrines are usually dark places which are difficult to keep clean. Often, hand washing facilities are missing. For these reasons, shared pit latrines can be quite uncomfortable to use in developing countries. Also, there might be cultural preferences for open defecation and these may be difficult to overcome with unattractive toilet designs.
- 2 Statement of the problem
Pit toilets are one of the most common human excreta disposal systems in low-income countries and their use is on the rise as countries aim to meet the sanitation-related target of the Millennium Development Goals. There is concern however that the discharges of chemical and microbial contaminant from pit toilets to underground water may negatively affect human health.
1.3 Significance of the study
The study aims to quantify the impact of pit toilet on the residents of Udi Local Government Area of Enugu state, interpret findings, analyze implications, and convey high level results and implications to national decision-makers for sustainable and better environment of Udi residents and other communities where pit toilets trend in Nigeria.
- 4 Objectives of the study
The goals of this study are:
- To systematically review empirical studies of the impacts of pit toilets on the residents of Udi Local Government Area of Enugu State.
- To evaluate public pit toilets siting standard.
- To identify knowledge gaps regarding the potential for and the consequences of public pit toilets on citizens of Nigeria.
1.5 Research questions
1. What is the significant impact of pit toilet on the residents of Udi Local Government Area of Enugu state?
2. What is the siting standard of public pit toilets in Udi Local Government Area of Enugu state?
3. How much knowledge do Nigerians have on the potential and consequences of public pit toilets?
1.6 Research hypotheses
There is no significant impact of pit toilets on the residents of Udi Local Government Area of Enugu state.
Hi: There is significant impact of pit toilets on the residents of Udi Local Government Area of Enugu state. Ho: There is no siting standard of public pit toilets in Udi Local Government Area of Enugu state. Hi: There is a siting standard of public pit toilets in Udi Local Government Area of Enugu state. Ho: Nigerians are not aware of the potentials and consequences of public pit toilets. Hi: Nigerians are aware of the potentials and consequences of public pit toilets.
1.7 Limitations of the study The study was carried out to investigate the impact of public pit toilet system in Enugu state, Udi Local Government Area to be precise. The study is limited to Udi Local Government Area in Enugu state because of her representative nature of pit toilets in Nigeria, proximity to the researcher, time and financial constraints.
1.8 Scope of the study This study is on the impact of public pit toilet system in Enugu state with particular emphasis on its associated problems in Udi Local Government Area of Enugu state as the case study.
1.9 Definition of terms Public: This pertains to a state, nation, or whole community; proceeding from, relating to, or affecting the whole body of people. Pit Toilet System: This is a type of toilet that collects human feces in a hole in the ground. Problems: This is a matter or situation regarded as unwelcome or harmful and needing to be dealt with and overcome.
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