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Why World Toilet Day in a Country of Hunger and Ignorance

November 18, 2011  by: Paulose  Points: 20   Category: Social    Views: 707

World Toilet Day falls on November 19 to remind the world the necessity of toilet hygiene. But unless ignorance and hunger are eradicated mere observance of a World Toilet Day will be of no use.


Though this topic seems to be a nose-wrinkling a stigmatic one, it is essential to bring awareness to promote access to proper sanitation. I feel that it has to be dealt with an open mind considering the socio-economic conditions of the countries.

Some years back when some of my friends tried to introduce toilets in a remote village, they straightaway asked us, "We have no place to dwell. No water even to cook. We have no means even to eat a full meal a day. Where shall we go for water for your toilets?" It is true that the basic needs have to be thought over before we try to introduce toilets.

Why World Toilet Day?

November 19 is observed as the World Toilet Day all over the world to promote toilet hygiene. It is shocking fact that 2,600 million people lack access to a toilet or a safe place to urinate and defecate and this insanity condition results in illnesses killing more children than AIDS, Malaria and TB combined. Although it seems to be so simple and fundamental, the world has not yet managed to address this crisis and promote health all over. Hence the world nations have felt the necessity of observing this World Toilet Day to raise awareness and generate action to solve the global sanitation and water crisis. World level organizations such as NRDC, CARE, WaterAID and other leading health and development organizations have come forward to make use of this occasion to promote global sanitation and water crisis.

Sanitatary conditions in India

The recent Commonwealth games can be an example for the sanitary condition in urban areas in India. About 1,200 toilets were installed much before the Commonwealth Games to substitute the oozing sanitation woes that are commonly found in public toilets in Indian urban areas. According to Jack Sim, the founder of the World Toilet Organization and who was on a mission to raise international toilet standards, "The toilet has always been an intimate part of human civilization."

Toilets in rural areas

Once a friend of mine remarked, "I don't understand why people here eat in privacy and ease in public." Government has provided common toilets in villages. But most of them are not used or they are neglected due to poor maintenance. Scarcity of water is another problem. It has been a tradition in villages to walk some distance to reach some bushes in open areas and ease. It is a normal sight in India to find people using bushes for their easing purposes!

Toilet a place of dirtiness!

But these days, there is a stigma about the conditions of these public toilets in India. There is something in the Indian psyche that make us think of toilets as dirty places and so keep them dirty! Even the 'pay and use' toilets are wet and emit giveaway smells! A real clean toilet in India is a real rarity, including toilets in most of the star hotels.

A need to educate

It is very important to teach the etiquettes of sanitation and remove the stigma regarding toilet and those who are associated with it. The process of nature is to be honored and treated without any fuss. There is a need to not only train sanitation workers, but also to make their job more respectable by eliminating the social stigma associated with it. Not only the toilets to be improved but also the users' habits are to be changed.

Toilets for good health

Using toilets can reduce many contagious diseases. It can save people from diseases such as diarrhea, worms in the intestines, etc. Statistics say that diarrhea, which is spread through poor sanitation, is the leading cause of illness and death in the developing countries.



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