Source: Government bans use of Blair toilets | Sunday News (local news)
Vincent Gono, News Editor
BULAWAYO Cowdray Park residents in Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle stands are in a quandary after the Government imposed a nationwide ban on pit latrines and Blair toilets, saying they were outdated and do not speak to the modernisation thrust the country is aiming to achieve.
Although the Government’s ban on the ablution facility is majorly aimed at rural areas where they are common, more than 9 300 out of 15 600 Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle houses in Cowdray Park have been using Blair toilets as they could not afford the US$500 connection fee to the sewer reticulation system, at least according to Councillor Kidwell Mujuru.
In an interview last Friday, National Housing and Social Amenities Minister Daniel Garwe said Blair toilets were obsolete and no longer suitable for rural areas as the move towards achieving an upper-middle-income nation gains traction. He said the country should adopt new flushable toilets through an upgrade on the existing infrastructure.
“Government has banned the use of the outdated pit latrines, Blair and open defecation. In their place comes new flushable toilets under an affordable model which is smart and suitable for the rural system. Unlike the urban flush system which uses nine litres of water the new system only requires two litres for flushing. The new flush system is also cost effective as it uses existing infrastructure allaying the fears of possible demolitions on the toilets being used,” he said.
Pit latrines are outdated in modern societies as they pollute the air and they can be a favourable place for the breeding of flies and mosquitoes. Clr Mujuru said while the idea of moving with Vision 2030 of a transformed mindset and a transformed infrastructure was noble, few people in his ward were going to be able to go it alone in the movement from Blair toilets to flushable ones.
“We have 15 600 houses under Hlalani Kuhle and 9 300 have Blair toilets and residents have been struggling to put together US$500 required to connect them to the sewer reticulation system. We are likely to have them for sometime if no assistance is given,” he said.
In response to climate change and its effects on housing structures, Minister Garwe said they were engaging architects and engineers through the Zimbabwe Institute of Engineers.
“In the meantime, we are in the process of engaging architects and engineers through the Zimbabwe Institute of Engineers.
“The desire is to come up with modern designs which will withstand the effects of climate change. There is need for innovations in this regard. Such designs with heaped roof and gable roof have been with us for generations.
These are some of the designs which may easily give in to the effects of climate change. The time is now for our young architects and engineers to come up with beautiful and attractive designs that speak to modernity and can withstand the effects of climate change,” said Minister Garwe.
He said most of the communities that were affected by the vagaries of climate change have poor structures, usually the pole and dagga houses which easily give in when exposed to weather phenomena linked to climate change.
“We are aware that much of our rural houses are not exposed to any standard checks which make them vulnerable to vagaries of climate change. So, the development of a standard structure will go a long way in ensuring that strong structures are constructed.
We are therefore imploring our citizens to ensure that their houses are not only standard and modern, but firm,” he said.