High Risk of Diarrhoea in Areas with Poor Sanitation

Article excerpt

WATER pollution resulting from poor sanitation and substandard housing conditions is contributing to a high risk of diarrhoeal diseases in local townships. That is according to a new study in the American Journal of Public Health.

Researchers from Stellenbosch University and the University of Cape Town surveyed more than 1 000 people across 300 homes in the townships of Driftsand, Greenfields, Masiphumelele and Tafelsig.

An analysis of four informal settlements found that many individuals did not wash their hands properly, clean their toilets or correctly dispose of items soiled with human waste.

The research showed that 15 percent of families in low-cost homes place soiled items in storm drains, while another 6 percent disposed of these in the street. Samples of run-off in these regions had E coli strand counts from 750 to 1.6 million per 100ml. Overall, 56 percent of households eliminated their wastewater in a way that was "inappropriate".

The study also showed that improper solid waste disposal was a contributing factor to run-off pollution as well, and 22 percent of households responded that they had dumped their waste on the street. …