Baghdad/Sadr City, Iraq – Broken sewers continue to be an issue all over Iraq and Baghdad, and in many neighborhoods are in similar disrepair to those in Shama’iya. However, in some parts of Sadr City and elsewhere, citizens are getting support from local municipal councils to repair and replace the sewer system with something more modern.

The project in Sadr City to improve the quality of their sewer system involves completely removing the old system, and performing a complete renovation. There were not only problems with the system do to damage from the ongoing conflict in Iraq, but previously there were long-standing capacity issues, and the sewer system is not able to handle all of the homes depending on it.

The ongoing sanitation problems are exacerbating risks of cholera, among other diseases. Although at least one outbreak appears to have been successfully contained, with sanitation becoming more of a luxury as the conflict has dragged on. The Iraqi government has declared 2008 to be the “year of services,” unfortunately, Iraqi citizens seem to have their doubts about the extent to which the government can adequately improve services. ThinkProgress has a poll which paints a dark picture of Iraqi opinions about services of all kinds.

At least in sectors 73 and 74, in Sadr City, the sewer system appears to be on its way toward complete renovation. If the Iraqis who spoke with Alive in Baghdad are typical, there is a strong interest and willingness to take the steps necessary to rebuild and improve Iraq’s flagging infrastructure.

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