The world celebrates today, March 11, 2013 as World Plumbing Day. In this celebration, the United Skilled Plumbers Association, Inc. (USPA) joins stakeholders in emphasizing the need to address the problem on access to clean water and effective sanitation.
The crisis is already in global proportion: one in eight people in the world do not have access to safe water and one in three people do not have adequate sanitation.
In places where there is sufficient water supply, inadequate sanitation results to diseases such as the recent diarrhea cases in Carmen, Cebu and typhoid fever outbreak in the town of Badian, Cebu.
Our group, USPA, is an association of community-based plumbers and plumbers currently working in water districts and water cooperatives in the country.
While there are reliable services already provided such as the ones given by the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD), waterless communities in Cebu remain. For areas that already have enough water supply and systems, there is still the need to ensure that these systems operate as intended, such as what happened to the towns of Carmen and Badian in Cebu, requiring the technical expertise of plumbers and other tradespersons.
March being Women’s Month, it is also important to note the role of women and children, who play a large part in collecting water for family use, oftentimes along long and arduous road in order to obtain water that are sometimes not safe to consume
The situation calls for a more collaborative effort among different stakeholders such as water districts and cooperatives, other service providers, communities, government officials and associations like USPA to address the needs of communities, within the framework of water cooperation espoused by the United Nations General Assembly in declaring 2013 as the United Nations International Year of Water Cooperation.
We, plumbers who are directly in the field fixing leaks, unclogging drains, and helping maintain water systems, but sometimes perceived as nuisance, are willing to extend our hand in realizing water and sanitation for all.
We are also appealing to candidates in the upcoming May 2013 election in the country to make clear cut policy pronouncements to ensure public health through safe and clean water. For a start, it helps if candidates shall integrate in their electoral platforms the provision for increased budgetary allocation for the water and sanitation sector in their respective government units.
Closely associated with ensuring water and sanitation for all are affirmative actions from our policy makers to provide secure and decent jobs among tradespersons who provide crucial services such as plumbing.
FELICIANO L. APARRE
Founding President, USPA