Written by the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), the US and Haitian governments and UNICEF, and published in November 2012, the cholera elimination plan has as one of its chief targets human excrement. The plan sets as its objective that by 2022, “90 percent of the population has access [to] and uses a functional sanitary facility” and that “100 percent of drained excreta are treated before being discharged into the natural environment.”
The sanitation budget alone tops US$467 million.
“According to our figures, less than 30 percent of the population has access to what we might call basic sanitation,” Edwige Petit, head of sanitation for the government’s National Agency of Water and Sanitation (in French, Direction nationale de l’eau potable et de l’assainissement - DINEPA), told HGW. “In neighboring countries, 92 to 98 percent have basic sanitation.”
By DINEPA’s count, about one half of households in the countryside, and 10 to 20 percent in the cities, lack access to a proper toilet or latrine. Everyone else uses rivers, ravines or almost any open space to take care of their needs.
In Cité Soleil, a slum that is part of the metropolitan area, some people are forced to use open patch of ground they can find.
“As far as latrines are concerned, we ‘go’ wherever we can, do you understand?" explained resident Wisly Bellevue, without a blink.
“In other words, we go in the wild, nearby.”
“When our children have to take a poop, we put them on a little bowl,” he added. “We put a little water in there. Once they are done, we throw it into an empty lot.”