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The Flush of a Toilet

I just came across this article on the BBC website on Toilet Conferences in Delhi.

At first glance, I thought it was about different and innovative types of toilets and was meant for toilet manufacturers. However, what it's actually about is trying to provide a basic necessity for people all over the country. 40 countries are taking part trying to find a solution.

It seems in India alone, more than 700 million people lack access to such basic sanitation facilities. Thousands of children die from diarrhea and other related diseases.

And I'm sure, we're all too familiar with images of men, women, children squatting down beside railway tracks, beaches, by the side of roads, in deserted lanes, fields. Dirtying the water they drink, the places where their children play and where their "food" grows.

It's easy for us to turn around and say, "Yuck, why can't they use a toilet? Why do they have to dirty the roads?" But what we don't know is the lack of available toilets for citizens. In Dharavi, there is approximately 1 toilet cubicle for every 1500 people. That's the reality they have to live with.

It's especially tough for women to deal with. They either have to use it in the cover of darkness or in the early mornings when nobody is around making them extremely vulnerable to all sorts of assaults and indignities. Girls are forced to terminate their education because of the inavailability of such sanitation facilities. Schools often have limited toilets because of the lack of running water. While boys can "go" outside, the girls have to hold it in all day and run the risk of contracting urinary and other infections.

It's high time, we wake up to reality and realise that something we take for granted is an elusive dream to millions of people in India alone and about one-third of the world's population.

So the next time, you sit down to answer nature's call. Think about how easy we have it.


Ace said…
I agree. Lack of sanitation facilities is a HUUUUUGE problem. Hope the UN achieves what it has set out to achieve. About time we too played our part instead of instead of beating around the Ayodhya, Sethusamudram and Gere-kissed-Shilpa-on-the-freaking-cheek bushes.
Thoughtful posting.

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