Island awarded for poo-free beaches

MICHAEL FIELD
Last updated 13:14 14/05/2013
Tarawa
MICHAEL FIELD/Fairfax NZ
FILTHY: A fouled beach on South Tarawa.

Relevant offers

South Pacific

Former Abel Tasman beach owner Michael Garnham selling Fiji island New Zealanders find head at tourist spot in Fiji 'I worry about family all the time' - a NZ student from Kiribati and the future of his homeland 15 dead after Somali Islamist militants attack hotel in Mogadishu Controversy over who leads Cook Islands Real life pours cold water over Antarctic sea-monster theory Samoan reporting on trans woman's death 'disgusting', 'degrading' Tanna Islanders jailed for kidnapping after raid on NZ-owned villa John Key completes first official visit to Fiji TVNZ reporter, head of news hit back at Fijian Prime Minister over media blacklist

A small central Pacific island has won a United Nation's award for something much of the developed world takes for granted - it has been declared the Pacific's first "open defecation-free" or ODF island.

Open defecation - going to the toilet on the beach - has long been a curse on Tarawa, the capital atoll of Kiribati.

The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) has bestowed its ODF honour on North Tarawa Island, but not South Tarawa where the bulk of Kiribati's 101,000 people live.

UNICEF spokeswoman Nuzhat Shahzadi said that while only 5000 people lived on North Tarawa, its achievement was a major leap for Kiribati becoming a completely open defecation-free nation.

"This is a tremendous achievement for the people of North Tarawa to be declared an ODF island in a country where up to 70 per cent of people in many communities still practice open defecation," she said.

North Tarawa Island can now look forward to significant reduction in diarrheal diseases and lower infant and under five mortality rates as a result.

UNICEF says that around the world about 2.5 billion people do not use improved sanitation facilities, mostly in the poorest households and rural areas of which 90 per cent were still practising open defecation, the riskiest sanitation practice.

Tooti Rangaba of Nooto village on North Tarawa Island said before the honour, most people used the beaches and mangroves for the toilet, and people got sick.

"Some of the children in our village died from dehydration after having diarrhoea."

Kiribati President Anote Tong has set December 2015 as the target date for the whole nation to become ODF.

The Micronesian nation has been so embarrassed by its toilet habits that when one visiting journalist wrote about it he was given a decade-long banning order from the country.

Ad Feedback

- Stuff

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content