The Bold Voice of J&K

Open defecation is a national shame

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Dear Editor
Open defecation is a national shame and India tops in number of people open defecating. Open defecation in India is a grave issue and needs to be addressed on top priority. No country in the world has more open defecation than India, where one in two people defecate outside. Every year, 2,00,000 children in India die from diseases caused by fecal contamination. Although toilets were built, without adequate motivation to use them, village people often continued to adhere to centuries-old practices, and abandoned the new toilets or put them to alternative uses. In fact there is still a traditional thought that the presence of toilets in the compound makes the later impure. Educated or uneducated, people in rural areas, for want of indoor plumbing use open space for defecating. There are some people who think that open defecation is more hygienic and having an indoor toilet is dirty and filthy. Improving sanitation in the villages has proved to be one of India’s greatest development challenges.
We need a grass root campaign on how many diseases can be avoided by basic cleanliness and how spending on toilets is as important as developing other infrastructure. Whatever welfare measures taken so far by the government have not reached fully the masses. We don’t need to build new temples, mosques, churches, Gurudwaras etc. Public toilets with good water facility are the need of the hour. In a country like India it is very difficult and takes a long time to change the practice of open defecation in rural areas. Most of the toilets which are started for public use are being neglected by the people due to improper maintenance. It is the matter of hygiene that can attract more people to use toilets.
The implementation of toilet system can be carried out in a phased manner with prior creation of awareness through media. It is not that government is only responsible. People have to take responsibility for their own well being as well.
Vinod  C. Dixit
B-15 Jyoti-Kalash Society
Jodhpur Tekra
Ahmedabad- 380 015

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