Health concerns related to housing, sanitation, water access and waste disposal in a poor mixed urban community, Mbekweni in Paarl

Ngakane, Lerato (2021-03)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2021.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY : South Africa's rapid population growth and fast in-migration into already densely populated urban areas are placing great strain on municipal services. Numerous municipalities outside the major cities are not able to provide adequate infrastructure or safe standards of basic services in these low-income areas. In urban poor communities, the sustainable management of recovery or recycling of waste is carried out poorly or not at all. Hygiene, sanitation, and proper waste disposal are of great concern to both the public and the environment. Poor waste management leads to the degradation of the environment and poor sanitation results in the spread of communicable diseases. This study aimed to investigate the degree to which human behaviour results in direct and/or indirect health risks for a low-income community with mixed informal and semiformal housing. The impact on the immediate environment is also investigated. The problems facing such communities outside of the main cities are not well researched. A cross-sectional survey that covered topics of demography, housing, waste and waste disposal, health and hygiene features was designed. The survey targeted residents living in informal settlements in Mbekweni as well as low-income houses. Systemic sampling with random starting points was used to collect the necessary data. A total of 117 structures representing 512 inhabitants were investigated and a series of water samples was collected at various location points near the residences in order to assess the level of environmental pollution. Forty-eight percent of the respondents lived in shacks, while 52% lived in brick-and-mortar houses. The whole community can be classified as falling into the low-income bracket with households receiving an average monthly income of R3736. Findings also showed that 45% of the community had to make use of communal toilets and taps, many of which were not fully functional. Nineteen percent of the participants reported gastrointestinal symptoms during the survey, 10% possible TB symptoms and 9% other infections. The E. coli counts detected in the environmental water samples varied from 2300 organisms to 32 million organisms per 100 ml water, indicating extensive sewage contamination. In this indigent community, the study found poor waste disposal behaviour, poorly maintained sanitation facilities resulting in high levels of environmental pollution. Such factors are linked to high risks of infectious diseases in the community. The study found that the community had little knowledge concerning the ways in which they can be involved in minimizing the spread of communicable diseases and keeping their community clean. The study participants displayed an adequate basic knowledge of home hygiene. The qualitative assessment of their domestic sanitation and hygiene however did not reflect that knowledge. There is an urgent need for reform of basic service delivery to such communities as well as education to improve their sanitation approach.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Suid-Afrika se vinnig groeiende bevolking en vinnige inmigrasie na reeds dig bevolkte dorpsgebiede plaas groot druk op munisipale dienste. Baie munisipaliteite buite die groot stede kan gevolglik nie infrastruktuur behoorlik instandhou of dienste lewer in lae-inkomste gebiede nie. In arm dorpsgemeenskappe vind volhoubare bestuur van hergebruik of herwinning van afval swak of selfs glad nie plaas nie. Higiëne, sanitasie en behoorlike wegdoening van afval is belangrik vir die gemeenskap en die omgewing. Swak afvalbestuur lei tot die beskadiging van die omgewing en swak sanitasie lei tot die verspreiding van aansteeklike siektes. Die doel van hierdie studie is om te ondersoek in watter mate inwoners se optrede 'n direkte en/of indirekte invloed het op menslike gesondheid in 'n lae-inkomste woongebied met informele en formele wooneenhede. Die probleme in sulke gemeenskappe buite die groot stede is nie goed nagevors nie. 'n Dwarsdeursnit opname is ontwerp wat aspekte soos demografie, huisvesting, afval en wegdoening, gesondheid en higiëne insluit. Die inligting is ingesamel by inwoners van informele strukture asook lae-inkomste behuising in Mbekweni. 'n Stelselmatige steekproef met ewekansige beginpunte is gebruik om die data te versamel. 'n Totaal van 117 strukture met 512 inwoners is ondersoek en 'n reeks watermonsters is geneem by verskillende punte naby die wonings om 'n beeld te kry van die mate van omgewingsbesoedeling. Ag-en-veertig persent van die deelnemers het in informele (krot) huise gewoon en 52% in baksteenhuise. Die hele gemeenskap kan as behoeftig beskou word, met huishoudings wat 'n gemiddelde maandelikse inkomste van R3736 ontvang. Bevindings dui daarop dat 45% van inwoners gemeenskaplike toilette en krane gebruik, waarvan baie nie funksioneel was nie. Neëntien persent van die deelnemers het gastroïntestinale simptome aangemeld terwyl 10% moontlike TB simptome en 9% ander infeksiesimptome aangemeld het. Die E. coli tellings in die watermonsters vanaf die omgewing het gewissel vanaf 2300 tot 32 miljoen organismes per 100 ml water. Dit dui op uitgebreide besmetting met riool. In hierdie arm gemeenskap is swak gedrag ten opsigte van afvalwegdoening gevind asook sanitasiestelsels wat swak onderhou word en wat tot hoë vlakke van omgewingsbesoedeling gelei het. Sulke faktore hou verband met hoë risikos van infektiewe siektes in so 'n gemeenskap. Die studie het ook gevind dat die gemeenskap min kennis het van die maniere waarop hulle self betrokke kan raak om die verspreiding van aansteeklike siektes te bekamp en hoe om hulle omgewing skoon te hou. Die deelnemers het ‘n basisese kennis van huishoudelike higiëne getoon, maar die kwalitatiewe beoordeling van hulle huishoudelike sanitasie en higiëne het nie daardie kennis weerspieël nie. Daar is 'n ernstige behoefte aan hervorming van basiese dienslewering aan sulke gemeenskappe sowel as aan opvoeding om hulle sanitasiegedrag te verbeter.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/109996
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