Youth Forward Scholarship 2019 – Poor Sanitation in Ethiopia

Name: Betsega Moges Tefera
From: Washington, DC
Grade: 12
School: Khartoum American School
Votes: 0

Betsega
Moges

Poor
Sanitation in Ethiopia


Located in
the horn of Africa, Ethiopia faces many environmental challenges that
have been detrimental to the country’s overall development. Caused
by pollution, poor sanitation puts many at risk of death and other
various health problem. The lack of education and law regulation,
insufficiency of facilities, and on this matter prolongs the
issue. This problem plays a big part in Ethiopia because we are not
educated in general sanitation, facilities are insufficient, and the
government does not follow the laws it creates. However, this could
change if we, as individuals and communities, supported by the
government, work together to increase public awareness, provide
facilities, and follow strict rules and regulations.


     Due to
poor sanitation, health and environmental risks have been increasing
tremendously in Ethiopia. Mainly because of unavailability of
toilets, which means people defecate where others walk and play. The
human waste eventually leeches into rivers that provide drinking
water, and this in turn creates serious health risks. Lack of
suitable garbage disposal facilities also have had the same negative
effects. Since no rubbish tips are provided, people simply toss their
garbage in any open space, including roads. This trash accumulates
and, like human waste, eventually leeches into drinking water. Poor
sanitation causes water sources to be compromised leading to
dangerous diseases such as cholera, jaundice, and typhoid.

Thousands
of lives could be saved if people are educated and knew how to live
clean lives. Without knowledge, people are unaware that their habits
cause health risks. A dynamic educational drive is needed to increase
awareness. If we know that our actions are the cause of many of our
problems, and better sanitation means spending less money on medicine
for diseases caused by poor sanitation, then we will be more willing
to cooperate in improving the environment. Any educational drive
should include all levels of the population from little children to
the elders. The best way to do this would be through multi-media,
using radio, television, social media, school programs, and
competitions. It can also use educational workshops and other media
to address this issue. Something that I can do personally is
volunteer to go to rural areas and promote hygienic practices as well
as consequences of poor sanitation. Creating education and knowledge
will help Ethiopia grow environmentally because people will feel
responsible for the environment since we know the consequences.

Even the
most educated person cannot keep the environment clean if the
appropriate infrastructure is not available. A further solution to
improve sanitation in Ethiopia would be to increase facilities. Even
if people are educated and aware of the damage that poor sanitation
can have in their lives, they still need facilities such as toilets,
garbage cans, and waste management. The first problem might be cost,
but longdrops for toilets are cheap as this is simply a deep hole
with a seat on the top, and a dedicated area for rubbish costs
little.  So if the government creates more facilities, this
problem can be resolved and Ethiopia could be a clean African
country. Somalia and Rwanda are examples to follow. As Somalia
educated its population and increased facilities, the environment
became visibly cleaner and the quality of people’s lives improves.
The same is true for Rwanda where every citizen is even expected to
do community service once a month and help cleanup the environment.
By increasing facilities, preventable deaths should decrease as well.
This will also enable people to live cleaner lives and reduce the
health risks.

Lastly, the
government must have strict rules and regulations. Not only must it
create them, but it must also follow and enforce them. If the
government takes action then the issue of poor sanitation will be of
less concern because when a person sees someone who litters has
consequences, then not only will the litterer not litter again, but
the witness will not either. The government can use different systems
to correct the people by fining them or requiring related community
service, thus decreasing the sanitation problem in Ethiopia.

Sanitation,
that many in developed countries do not even consider, is something
that still needs much attention in Africa, especially in my home
country Ethiopia. Yet with help from the government and dedicated
citizens, Ethiopia could become one of the cleanest countries in the
world and in the process improve the quality of live of all its
citizens.


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