The Institute of Plumbing South Africa (IOPSA) invites its members to celebrate World Plumbing Day (WPD) on 11 March 2016
World Plumbing Day is an international event, initiated by the World Plumbing Council (WPC), and held on 11 March every year. This day recognises the important role the plumbing industry plays in sanitation, health and hygiene.
Statistics from the World Health Organisation show that globally, more people have a mobile phone than a toilet. Furthermore, one in three individuals lack access to improved sanitation, one billion still practice open defecation and only 64% of the world's population has access to improved sanitation.
South Africa’s water crisis and sanitation situation
In South Africa, the situation is no less dire. According to Stats SA’s 2013 General Household Survey, 89,9% of South African households have access to piped water, while only 77,9% have access to improved sanitation.
Currently 94.8% of South Africans have access to clean and safe drinking water. But approximately 1,4 million formal households require sanitation services and about 500 000 informal households are currently forced to make use of interim services.
Bearing these statistics in mind, IOPSA and World Plumbing Day are dedicated to promoting the benefits of safe plumbing and creating awareness about the importance of proper sanitation, health and hygiene. It provides individuals with the opportunity to get involved with relieving the crisis and make a difference.
The dire consequences of inadequate sanitation
Due to the lack of sanitation and access in the country's rural communities the threat of water borne disease is steadily increasing. Getaway and tourist destinations such as the Vaal River are becoming increasingly contaminated with faecal material due to the lack of sanitation supplies. This results in fewer tourists visiting certain destinations, and wildlife is being affected by the raw sewage run-off.
The role of plumbers
Plumbers are contributing their part to protect the environment by providing safe fresh water and sanitation through proper management, care, reuse and conservation of natural resources. The plumbing industry recognises the questionable balance mankind must maintain to guarantee its very existence and embraces efforts to ensure we are preserving every drop possible.
The role of the plumber
You can make a difference by getting involved with non-profit organisations such as UNICEF, who sponsor a wide range of activities and work with many partners, including families, communities, and governments. Also, get involved with local schools by volunteering to give talks and educate pupils about the importance of washing hands and using proper clean water.
IOPSA WPD initiatives
In 2016, IOPSA regions will be focusing on key upliftment projects and water conservation at schools in their respective regions.
IOPSA Gauteng will be involved in the Doug Whitehead Special School in Kensington. IOPSA members have donated and will be installing much-needed water and sanitation products.
The Doug Whitehead School is a special school for 189 children between the ages of six and 19 years old. All of them are severely mentally challenged. Many have multiple disabilities. Some are in wheelchairs, and many are epileptic. The school also has autistic pupils as well as pupils with visual and hearing disabilities.
The school strives to provide specialised teaching, training and therapy in a happy, nurturing environment so that each child can achieve his or her maximum potential in all areas of development. Children with disabilities have a right to learn how to become as self-sufficient as possible to enable them to integrate more easily into society.
The school recognises and responds to the diverse needs of learners, and has a functional school governing body and parents’ support, as well as a dedicated staff.
Projects that you can get involved in
- Community upliftment projects specific to regions
- School and community education
- IOPSA Video – water conservation
- Board game advocating water conservation