Friday, May 29, 2020

Open Defecation: A Threat to Humanity

(Monday, 19th day of November 2018)


Open Defecation is act of defecating outside instead in a toilet. Open defecation has been the norm before. Since the population was still relatively small and open spaces was still visible, open defecation was believed to cause little harm.

Through the years, population started to grow rapidly which results to reduce of open space. Urbanization in the city has slowly transformed the city to be modernized and be advanced in terms of sanitation, public health, education, etc. Because of this, open defecation is discouraged to be practice.

Lack of awareness

The lack of awareness by people regarding the dangers of open defecation poses a great threat to public health. According to Louise Maule, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Chief of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (Wash), open defecation is a common habit in which people assumes it is not a problem. She added that if the community practice it, they will not give importance of the serious health problems brought by open defecation.

Lack of education of the people regarding the possible effects of open defecation also leads to their thinking that it is not a problem. Fecal contamination of the area may lead people to have diarrhea, intestinal worm infections, typhoid, cholera, polio, hepatitis, and trachoma.


According to Nilo Yacat, Communication Advisor at the Center for Health Solutions and Innovations CHSI, based on their survey, putting up a toilet would cause in the household would cause a lot of money. A family who is struggling to provide food in the table, to build stable home, and to have decent clothes will not have the time to spare extra cash in building a private toilet in their home.

A toilet can cause around 3,000 pesos to 4,000 pesos. In a family that only generates income in a minimum level, building a toilet would fall into a want rather than a need. Also, buying cheap toilet bowl could also be an option for the family even with the fact of sacrificing the quality. The family will only settle for a substandard toilet bowl which can be easily broken in order to have a toilet bowl in their home.

Barangay Captains from different barangays in Iligan City and their respective councils vowed to help their constituents to acquire proper toilet in their respective homes. According to Mayor Celso Regencia, the Local Government Unit of Iligan City sees open defecation a problem and is doing ways to eradicate this practice in the city. “Mga barangay captains inyuhang i-identify ang mga panimalay nga wala pa intawon kasilyas (To all barangay captains, you should identify those households who do not have toilets in their respective homes.),” Mayor Regencia said.

Mayor Regencia also tasked Mr. Hospicio Paragoso, City Budget Officer, to allocate funds for those identified households that lacks toilets. “Paragoso, kon naa tay kwarta na Makita, atong iapod-apod sa atong mga barangay aron makahimo ug standard gyud na kasilyas para naa najud magamit sa tagsa-tagsa ka panimalay (Paragoso, if ever we do have budget for the said cause, we will distribute it to different barangays so that they can build standard toilets in their respective homes),” he added.

Team Effort

Aside from government’s effort to hand free toilet bowls, adequate education is given conducted in order to illicit change in the community. November 19 is World Toilet Day. This initiative is about taking action to ensure that everyone has a safe toilet by 2030. This is part of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6: sanitation and water.

Open defecation does not only bring deadly diseases but it also violated the human dignity of the person and the quest to observe the common good for all. Practicing open defecation would have a negative effect for the entire community and the environment. Open defecation indicates lack of inclusive growth. In order to change the mentality of the people, a collaborative effort from the government and the community must be practiced to change the behaviour and practice of open defecating.


– –  Louise Lourfe P. Malazarte / CIO