A 67-year-old farmer in Pang-Shu, Tang gewog, Bumthang, Ap Gyeltshen, rises early to use his pit toilet built near his house. He and a few other villagers are not yet able to build a modern attached toilet. Water and financial constraints are to be blamed.
“As an early riser, everyone in the village uses pit toilet but it aches to see others (villagers) having good toilet sanitation,” Ap Gyeltshen said. Sonam La is like Ap Gyeltshen without a modern toilet because of the shortage of water.
“In the past, we have toilets outside the houses. But now most of my neighbours have proper toilets attached with the house. We are also hoping to build a proper one in the coming years,” said Sonam La.
More than 60 percent of households in Tang gewog have pour-flush toilets and the remaining 40 percent still use pit toilets. The Gup and Mangmi of the gewog are making efforts to bring changes in the lifestyle of the people regarding toilet sanitation.
“We have met with all the villagers and discussed this issue to educate them,” said the Mangmi, Damdue La. He added that they have discussed the issue with the health sector and came out with a resolution to place good hygienic toilets in every house.
Such a message has gone down well with Aum Pema. She and her fellow villagers welcome the initiative started by health care professionals and local leaders in the communities. “I don’t have pour-flush toilets at my house; I still use my pit toilet but I need to have good water source first,” she said.
Moreover, gup Ugyen Nima said they want to improve the coverage of sanitary latrine to atleast 80 percent by the end of this year. “The health sector recently sensitized local leaders on sanitary toilet construction,” he said.
He added that those villagers who are planning to construct new toilet can either opt to have toilets attached or separately built outside. But in both the cases, a pour-flush toilet is a must. The pour-flush toilet is recommended for hygienic lifestyle, which prevents odour and flies.
Meanwhile, people have talked with the Gup regarding the water shortage during a gewog zomdue. A water supply pipeline to get water from a stream located on the other side of the village is being worked on. “If not, I need to buy water pipes privately to get water,” Sonam La said.
According to the gewog administration, they have submitted a proposal for water pipes. “Villagers are in need of water pipes and we have planned to supply water in 12th Plan.”