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End this shameful legacy
Open defecation is a crippling issue and has to be end at all costs
When you gotta go, you gotta go! But majority of South Asians, quite unfortunately, don’t even care where they do it! The region has the dubious distinction of getting the highest open defecation in the world, standing at a staggering 48%. And India has over 50% of that figure. Foreign tourists may find it quite an exciting photo opportunity but isn’t it time India got rid of this dark blot on its growth story?
Ignorance is bliss indeed, if we could apply it eternally. It’s quite jolting to know that 4-5 lakh (according to Planning Commission) children below the age of 5 die every year of waterborne diseases. Poor sewage and lack of proper sanitation infrastructure result in 80% of diseases in India. Only around 40% of Indians have access to toilets, resulting in open defecation. In addition, industrial waste creates severe ground water pollution, causing health hazards.
In this context, the efforts of Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak for installing 6,50,000 toilets and 62 excreta-based biogas plants under the Sulabh Sanitation Movement are worth mentioning. The effort started from his home state, Bihar where scavenging human waste is not uncommon. Moreover, installation of portable toilets and community sanitation systems, especially in slums, will reap huge benefits. The same can be used for generation of biogas and even water.
As India adds millions to its population, the problem will only get compounded. Measures like rewards for cleanliness, recycling methods including conversion to fertilisers, methods that use less water (considering India’s water shortage problem), have to be continued with missionary zeal. We can’t allow this scourge to continue.
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