India, with its vast population has hundreds of problems ranging from scarcity of food, clean drinking water and nutritious food supplements. But among all these issues, the unavailability of toilets in Indian families is the most distressing problem. Considerably, 48% of urban Indian population and 60% of rural population don’t get the leisure of having toilet in their residences. Though, the usage of word leisure doesn’t seem appropriate. But I am using it because when half of Indian population doesn’t get this basic essentiality it looks like an amenity to me. However, Indian government has planned to get over with the problem of open defecation by the end of 2019. Apparently, it does not seem possible. Here’s how government and other private bodies are working on this mission.
The Ever Evolving Graveyard
In India, the problem of open defecation is eating the lives of 200, 000 infants every year. Before killing people, it contaminates food, transmits skin diseases, respiratory diseases, eye problems, scabies, intestinal parasites resulting in kidney damage, anthrax, tuberculosis and diarrhea related diseases. The Arbogast’s study says this problem can also cause mental and cognitive stunting to young children. So, the step needs to be taken now or it will be too late for all of us. If we talk about the women security relating to this issue then it shocks. HRD ministry report says that 10% (101,443 lakh) of total schools don’t provide separate toilet facilities to their girl students. It makes the girl students to leave schools at an early age. Moreover, NGOs has reported previously that open defecation often leads to sexual violence against women.
How Government is doing its bit
The newly elected Prime Minister of India has spoken about creation of toilets before and after the general elections. He also coined a political slogan “Pahle Shaunchalay Fir Devalaya” (first toilets then temples). This slogan has helped him in winning the heart of rational Indian electorates, who want their prime minister to talk about the real issues rather than investing time on less important issues. So, PM Modi has begun working on construction of toilets across the country. Considerably, ministry of drinking water and sanitation has drafted a proposal to create 20 millions toilets by 2015. However, some senior officials think it as a mission difficult to accomplish as the ministry is cursed with low manpower. Moreover, there has to be a supporting infrastructure to ensure the proper functioning of toilets. It includes sewerage system, water supply system and waste management system for elimination of open defecation in India.
How CSR is doing its bit
The corporate organizations have started working along with central and state governments to eliminate this problem. Apparently, TCS has invested 100 crore to build toilets in 10000 schools across the country. The Bharti Group has invested 100 crore for construction of toilets in Ludhiana and neighboring areas. Aditya Birla Group has announced 10000 sanitation facilities in Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat by 2015. Apart from this, Larsen & Toubro has planned to create 5000 toilets and IIHMR University will add 13000 toilets in 6500 schools. Considerably, IIHMR University has already created 40000 toilets in Hanumangarh District and turned it open defecation free district. It also includes Hindustan Unilever, which is targeting to build 24000 toilets by 2015. HUL has also kick started the Toilet Academy initiative to promote the usage of clean toilets and good hygiene.
Do Your Own Bit
We all wish to contribute in getting rid of this problem which is causing death of 600000 Indian citizens every year. But, we don’t find the right ways of doing our own bit. This time Indiblogger and HUL’s Toilet Academy initiative have given us an opportunity to do our own bit.
You just need to log on the Domex.in and clink on the contribute tab. Doing this will make HUL spend 5 rupees for eliminating open defecation. Though, it wont be a big contrition but doing small bits make things larger.
Image Source: Domex Toilet Academy Website