New Delhi, Jan 4: In a village of 1,200 people not having toilets, each inhabitant has to indirectly consume through contaminated food about three grams of each other's faecal matter every day, says a government report.
The 'Elementary Book on Sanitation in Gram Panchayats' brought out by the Ministry of Panchayati Raj warns that food and beverages available in such villages are contaminated with at least one per cent of excreta.
The government, which launched an ambitious campaign to provide toilets for all in five years, says around 65 per cent of rural people practice open defecation in the country, resulting in exposure of human excreta to environment.
"It is estimated that, on an average, a village with a population of 1,200 and without toilets, produces 300 kg of human faecal matter every day. "Imagine the amount of pollution to the surrounding environment and water due to the excreta that is left untreated!," the book says.
"If we assume that the food the villagers eat and beverages they drink are contaminated by even one per cent of the 300 kg of excreta, they are indirectly consuming, through their contaminated food, about three grams (equal to one chocolate!) of each other's faecal matter every day," it says.
The book is meant to assist the elected representatives and functionaries of gram panchayats to keep their village clean, end open defecation, manage liquid and solid waste in eco-friendly manner, encourage people in hygienic habits and pay special attention to hygiene in schools and anganwadis.
It says that human excreta contain a huge number of disease-causing pathogens and there is great scope for these pathogens to enter the human system and food through air, flies, fluid, feet, fingers, fields, animals and motor vehicles.