16 Mar

We often hear the term “human dignity” and have an idea of the definition, but when it comes to the smaller breakdown of what it really means, and how it is implemented in today’s world, is it really something that the world takes into consideration?

Human Rights Day is celebrated this month on 21 March, and human dignity cannot exist without the implementation of human rights. Human dignity has nothing to do with race, gender, class, religion, etc, it’s all about being a human and nothing else. In the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it states: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”

One human right that encompasses human dignity is access to adequate sanitation and water. However, according to The United Nations 4.2 billion people (half the world’s population) live without access to safe sanitation, with one in three people not having access to safe drinking water. Around 297 000 children under five die annually from diseases due to poor hygiene, poor sanitation or unsafe drinking water.

“Poor sanitation can have many negative effects on people living within the vicinity, and without access to cleaning water many are left susceptible to diseases,” comments Mario Correia, brand manager for Organico. “Although there have been strides made in South Africa with regards to sanitation there are still many communities that are still left using pit latrines, and some that don’t even have access to those.”

When identifying the effects of the lack of sanitation and water, the following are often cited:

  1. Rural areas, which are affected the worse when it comes to lack of sanitation, often rely on the rainfall they receive in an area, which means they are dependent on the groundwater which is often unclean. The increasing rural population is already straining water resources that cannot sustain the growing community.
  2. Sewage waste often contaminates rivers due to outdated infrastructure, poor management and lack of resources making this water unusable and is also one of the causes of the spread of diseases, especially water-borne illness, which impacts large portions of the population within the area.
  3. Sanitation is slowly improving, however, there are many communities in South Africa that only have the use of pit latrines, which are dangerous, hazardous to health and have even been the cause of harm in some school communities.
  4. The lack of proper sanitation and the increase in school days missed, particularly by girl students when they are menstruating, is linked to the lack of privacy and security within school bathrooms. There are still schools, mostly within rural areas that do not have private toilets, with some relying on pit latrines, which makes it difficult for girl students to use in private.
  5. With the onset of COVID-19, the lack of clean water and sanitation doesn’t allow for the correct sanitising protocols to be followed, and with 40% of the world population living without basic handwashing facilities including soap and water at home this will contribute to the spread of the disease.

Due to the lack of water and sanitation Organico is an alternative eco-friendly treatment for toilets, pit latrines and septic tanks. It uses natural micro-organisms and enzymes to degrade faecal waste. This action combined with its carefully formulated fragrance reduces waste and eliminates odour, while preventing disease-carrying insects attracted to the smell, thereby decreasing the risk of spreading germs.  The use of Organico in areas where there is a lack of sanitation or water helps to keep communities safe and offers an affordable option for ridding the area of dangerous matter.

“South Africa has put into place many measures to combat the lack of sanitation and water however, there are still communities that are without this basic need and due to these negative effects, their human rights are being violated and human dignity is not being experienced. There needs to be more than one solution in place,” explains Correia.

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