Shehrbano, a fisher women and resident of city’s historical fishermen settlement of Chashma Goth have to face dual problems, her husband is handicapped and now she has to manage freshwater for her family so that they may not suffer with diseases, which are common in the settlement due to the lack of water.
Three years ago, her house was above the sea level but now her backyard has come under water: out of the three steps of her small house, two have been submerged. In recent years government constructed a wall to protect the settlement from rising sea, but that wall has brought more problems. “Before the construction of wall, the sea water was receding easily but now water is standing for several months.”
Due to the standing water, there are mosquitoes, which spread dengue and malaria, whereas cough, fever and itching is also common.
Poor sanitation facilities at Karachi’s coastal belt are posing health hazards to locals. With already vulnerable to climate change particularly sea level rise, stagnant seawater has led to the spread of ailments and diseases to the coastal communities.
Moreover, the industrial waste discharged into the sea is polluting and poisoning the seawater. This has led to a decline in marine life, affecting the livelihood of the fishing community.
Due to non-availability of a proper sanitation system, sewerage lines are connected with pipes in nearby ground facing the sea. When there is sea rise, particularly during monsoon, pipes discharge sewage, which also gets inside the houses among them women are most sufferers.
In the nearby village of Rehri Goth, conditions are the same where one could see hanging toilets right built right above the sea. The situation is worse for women as they feel humiliated when it comes to call of the nature.
Provision of safe, clean and comfortable public toilets is of significant importance.
Women, in response to lack of toilet provision, are likely to ‘hold on’ resulting in urine (and pathogen) retention, and bladder distension increasing the propensity for continence problems.
At times, people stop drinking water hours before any travel which also imposes a risk for urinary infection and stone formation.
However hardships for male members of the community are not less. The roof-less toilet, which serves almost all of the 2,500 male dwellers of the village, is raised near a concrete wall built to check seawater intrusion.
With almost no toilet facilities at their homes, they stand in long queues every day to get their turn to relieve themselves.
Three public toilets were constructed in the village but they are non-operational. Sewerage lines have not yet been laid there.
Since Dabla Paaro has not yet been provided with sanitation facility, a toilet is built about 500 metres from the settlement, five feet above sea level.
Everyday the fishermen have to stand it queue to get our turn to ourselves relieved. This is sheer embarrassment for us.