Indonesia: Nearly 70 per cent of household drinking water sources contaminated by faecal waste

UNICEF launches #DihantuiTai campaign to increase awareness of the impact of unsafe sanitation on public health while calling on homeowners to take action to protect the environment

07 February 2022
#WaktunyaCekidot eng

JAKARTA, 7 February 2022 – Nearly 70 per cent of the 20,000 household drinking water sources tested in Indonesia as part of a recent study* are contaminated by faecal waste, facilitating the spread of diarrhoeal disease, which is the leading cause of death in children under 5 years, UNICEF said today as it launches a new campaign to promote safer sanitation.

UNICEF’s #DihantuiTai campaign aims to inform households about safe sanitation and how faecal contamination in water sources puts public health at risk. Through this online campaign, UNICEF is calling for families to install, check, repair or change their septic tank and seek desludging services at least once every 3-5 years.

#DihantuiTai makes references to movies and TV shows popular in Indonesian culture. It features a team of ‘poobusters’ rescuing towns and cities that are haunted by poo (dihantui tai). As part of the campaign, UNICEF has launched the website providing homeowners with practical information on how to ensure their septic tanks are safe and where to find desludging services.

“Safe sanitation is lifechanging for children and puts them on the path to reaching their full potential,” said UNICEF Representative a.i Robert Gass. “But far too many children are living in communities impacted by unsafe sanitation, which is endangering every aspect of their development.”

Although Indonesia has made significant progress in improving basic sanitation, less than 8 per cent of households have a toilet connected to a sealed septic tank and have received desludging services at least once in the last five years. This has led to the poor management of faecal matter, which seeps into surrounding environments and nearby water sources.

Low community awareness on the public health risks of inadequate management of septic tanks as well as insufficient household demand for desludging services are among the main challenges to increasing access to safe sanitation, with many families not understanding the need to connect to a piped sewerage system or water sealed septic tanks that are periodically emptied.

The Government of Indonesia is currently developing a national roadmap to accelerate access to safely managed sanitation, with support from UNICEF and other partners. Later this year, the high-level Sanitation and Water for All conference will take place in Jakarta in May, bringing together ministers responsible for water, sanitation, health, environment and the economy from across the world to discuss accelerating access to water, sanitation and hygiene.

“The pandemic has brought greater attention to the importance of living in a clean environment,” said Gass. “Poorly managed sanitation can weaken children’s immune systems and lead to irreversible harm or even death. Through this initiative, we hope more communities across the country will take a greater role in managing their household sanitation to improve the health and well-being of children and their families.”

* Data source: Studi Kualitas Air Minum Rumah Tangga (Ministry of Health, Indonesia), 2020




Short videos and images for use by the media are available for download here

More information on the campaign:

Watch the media webinar with AJI Indonesia here

Media contacts

Kinanti Pinta Karana
Communications Specialist
UNICEF Indonesia
Tel: +62 8158805842


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