World Toilet Day

19th of November is marked as "World Toilet Day" by the UN.


Poor sanitation systems are among the leading causes of the spread of preventable diseases in developing nations.Although sizeable gains have been made in increasing access to improved sanitation in India and other countries, many families still lack these facilities.


Weak public health systems are something that not only affects the health of the people of the country but also affects the socio-economic development of the nation. India is still lagging far behind many countries in the field of sanitation. Most cities and towns in India are characterized by overcrowding, congestion, inadequate water supply, and insufficient facilities for disposal of human excreta, wastewater, and solid wastes. Fifty-five percent of India’s population (nearly 600 million people) has no access to toilets.


No Indian city has a comprehensive wastewater treatment system, and most Indian rivers have become open sewers as a result. But Varanasi, regarded as India’s sacred and oldest city, is so much flooded with human-generated waste that its dilapidated condition became a national issue in recent elections. The city’s sewage plants can handle only about 20% of the sewage generated in the city, said Ramesh Chopra of Ganga Seva Abhiyanam, a trust for cleaning the river. The rest sloshes into the Ganges or fetid ponds and pits.


Still, in Suburban areas, children are defecating on roads and footpaths.No wonder that Indian Railway Line is considered as the most extended toilet jokingly!!


Numbers do not always tell the story, but in the case of sanitation, they put things in perspective. More Indian homes have a telephone than a toilet within their premises. “We need a cultural revolution in the country to change people’s attitudes toward sanitation and hygiene completely,” said Jairam Ramesh, an economist, and former sanitation minister.


As dangerous as India's sanitation problems are, there is hope.One of the critical challenges for India and other countries where poor sanitation remains a severe problem is merging the functionality of toilets for a decrease in the spread of contagious diseases while being cost-effective enough to be provided to these countries' most deprived communities.


To improve sanitation in a lasting way, the issues related to defecation, waste disposal, water, environment, and health must be viewed from a comprehensive and sustainable solution perspective. When communities use hygiene and sanitation methods that fit their real needs, abilities, and expectation, they will adopt sanitation practices and enjoy better health.


Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister, says building toilets is a priority over temples. The mere availability of toilets and latrines will not end open defecation for years to come. What is required instead is public awareness through campaigns in the media, that explains the economic and health benefits of using toilets and of better hygiene. Such campaigns not only mean Public-built latrines/toilets have a better chance of being used; they would also encourage households to build them for themselves.


India! It's High time we start giving a shit about our shitting issues.


Here's a photo essay titled "My Toilet" from Panos Pictures:


#giveashit #sanitation #worldtoiletday #environment #sustainability