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Contaminated water is still killing 60 PNGns a week

WaterTUCKER HALLOWELL | The Borgen Project

SEATTLE - As more than 80% of the population lives in remote areas with little to no modern facilities, Papua New Guinea struggles with poor water quality and a lack of awareness about basic human health necessities.

With very little access to clean water, sanitation is poor and disease is rampant.

As access to safe water and sanitation are vital to the basic health needs, the population is at risk.

Poor hygiene leads to poor health and illnesses such as cholera and diarrhoea, which kill people every day - 60 a week the statistics say.

Here are some facts about water quality in Papua New Guinea.

Papua New Guinea has the poorest level of access to clean water in the world, with more than 60 percent of the population living without access to clean water.

Since 1990, access to clean water has only gone up by 6% and improved sanitation coverage actually dropped by one percent.

Of the 15 developing Pacific Island nations, Papua New Guinea has the lowest water and sanitation access indicators.

The average cost of 50 litres of water (the minimum amount of water necessary for human sanitation and well-being) in Papua New Guinea’s capital is K8 a day, which is half the average daily salary of K16.

Approximately 4.8 million people in Papua New Guinea do not have access to clean water and 6.2 million people do not have a basic toilet.

More than 200 children in Papua New Guinea die of diarrhoea each year due to lack of sanitation and clean water.

Because 85% of the population live in rural areas, education about sanitation and the importance of clean water is scarce.

According to Oxfam New Zealand, contaminated water in PNG kills 368 people every six weeks.

Papua New Guinea launched the national water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) policy in 2015.

These facts about water quality in PNG reveal a serious issue that extends beyond just access to water.

With little to no progress being made toward access to water and sanitation since 1990, Papua New Guinea must look to its foreign donors and its domestic leaders to address this issue.


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Bernard Corden


It would be even more interesting to measure the brown water consumption of many MPs in Haus Tambaran.

Bernard Corden

If my splenetic diatribe against governments and corporations appears somewhat angry, it has just hit boiling point after reading the recent verdict from the Rabaul Queen disaster.

As Disraeli remarked to Gladstone....You can take the man out of Liverpool but you cannot take Liverpool out of the man.

Bernard Corden

Dear Phil,

The Corporation movie from 2003 is worth watching and the following link provides access to an interesting article:

America has no respect for law, especially international law and justice in the US is determined by what you can afford.

Senator Elizabeth Warren is campaigning with Steve Croley in the US on regulatory capture and you only have to look at the coal seam gas approval process in Queensland complete with the revolving doors where public serpents are with the government one month and then join a major resources company the next.
This was recently exposed by Simone Marsh and Sally MacDow and the following links provide access to many colourful racing identities with their snouts in the trough:

It is like Tammany Hall politics in Queensland and even worse than the JBP era. It is now winner takes all with a doctrine of casino capitalism and laissez faire economics.

I notice Dennis Glover was at the BWF. His book "An economy is not a society" is well worth reading.

If you do any digging on the Queensland Racing Minister Gee Gee, you will find she is the niece of Tony and Gerry Bellino. The names Lyons and Murphy are evident in her WHS ministerial portfolio and the last time the names of Bellino, Lyons and Murphy appeared together in Queensland parliament was in a Hansard transcript from the Fitzgerald Inquiry during the 1980s.

The stench in Queensland politics is equally as foul as PNG.

Robin Lillicrapp

Yep, it would be interesting to assess the daily water consumption of the main hotels in POM, and calculate how many settlement dwellers that would sustain.

Philip Fitzpatrick

Bernard - According to the Yanks, corporations are 'individuals' with all the rights that status confers (see Citizen v Federal Election Commission 2010).

That ruling eventually led to Trump winning the presidency.

Of all the governments PNG has had with faulty memories, O'Neill's is the worst. He counts on people forgetting what he promised. Clean water is one of many issues he happily ignores.

Bernard Corden

I don't know of any governments or corporate behemoths that do humanitarian.

I can remember Dr Richard Doll presenting his report to the UK government highlighting the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer. He concluded that if people stopped smoking life expectancy would increase by five to ten years.

The UK government was horrified and suppressed his report because of the impact it was likely to have on the pension scheme.

Then take a look at the National Coal Board and its response following Aberfan. Under a labour government the families were embroiled in a bitter legal battle to obtain money from the disaster fund to pay for the gravestones of the deceased children.

It was proposed compensation claims be tested via an emotional proximity test.

Just to rub salt into the wounds the government plundered the disaster fund to pay for the removal of the remaining coal slag heaps surrounding the village.

Don't even go near any of the major pharmaceutical giants and start digging on regulatory capture and throw Nestle and Coca Cola into the mix and all the hogwash on good governance, corporate social responsibility and organisational codes of conduct is just a decorous façade.

Corporations are socially autistic mercenaries with no memory, soul to save or body to incarcerate and are an anthropomorphic fallacy. One death is tragedy, a thousand is a statistic.

Michael Dom

At my village, like many in Sinesine District, most people still use fresh water streams.

Some villages are less than a kilometre off the highway.

Few homes have piped water from tanks.

It's a fair walk to the nearest bathing water springs or falls, although this is the coldest and cleanest earth filtered water, the walk back may defeat the purpose of a shower.

But there's no knowledge of what happens downstream of our shower room. Who cares ah?

You know, Phil, there's many good things to be said about the benefits of having piped water.

Not the least are the security and civility of it.

Many rape incidents occur while fetching water. And usually this is a child's task.

If we've got clean water sources, why not try to pipe it for everyone.

But I know I argue with myself because most highlanders are too uncivilised and would chop the pipe at the least slight.

Philip Fitzpatrick

There are serious water problems in the big towns and where there is a high population density that the government has failed to address.

Out in the bush where a large proportion of the population lives there is usually a good clean water resource.

I can't help thinking that these sorts of statistics are all gathered within 10 kilometres of the nearest luxury hotel.

If I'm wrong, it's a terrible situation.

Michael Dom

Numbers may not be entirely accurate but the poor water and sanitation scenario do exist.

This should be a priority for DSIP use.

Healthy workforce and healthy children are the how and why of community development.

Philip Fitzpatrick

More crap from the professional number crunchers - ignore it.

Michael Dom

Nope. PNG leaders are not going to do anything about water, sanitation and hygiene.

Peter put the policy in place just so he can say he'd done it.

Now the government is free to write off the agenda to foreign donors and international NGO's, like World Vision and ADRA.

The resuling poor health issues will be classed as humanitarian.

PNG governments don't do humanitarian because there's no money in it for them.

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