School closes due to unpaid bills, unhealthy sanitation

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THE Gantom Primary School in Lae with more than 1000 pupils was closed this week because its water was cut off due to unpaid bills and unhealthy sanitation facilities, head teacher Martina Tanialu says
Health officials want certain aspects of the school fixed before allowing it to reopen.
Tanialu said the school had no water supply connected since October last year.
“We have issues with water pressure in West Taraka area where the school is located,” she said.
“Water pressure into the school is not sufficient. The school does not use water at all.
“Water PNG eventually cut off the water supply because we have more than K3000 outstanding, even though there was no water being pumped into the school’s toilet.”
Tanialu said in 2014, World Vision installed two tanks next to the toilet.
“However, due to water pressure issues and theft, we also cannot get water into the toilets and ablution block.
The only option we had to keep the school open was to have four pit toilets.
Health inspector Paul Lejuwom said pit toilets being used was also a health problem.
“The pit toilets are run down and have no vents to remove the bad smell,” he said.
“They are located right next to people’s living space, and people have been complaining about the smell that has been affecting them.
“Water supply must be connected back into the school because the health of the students is very important. “Proper toilets are important also, and we cannot let the school operate in such conditions.”
Teachers’ representative Cletus Niniabai said the 1118 students had used the four pit toilets.
“One is rundown, so we built a new one already. But the student and toilet ratio is very high,” Niniabai said.
“This is a huge problem and water must be connected to have the school reopen.
Attempts to get comment from Water PNG regarding the water supply issues to the school were unsuccessful.

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