How toilets in rural area is setting the trend for cleaner India
The lack of toilets is not only a rural problem. The demand for decent toilet facilities is a real and growing concern in a region where many rural women have been left out with no other option than to use the 'open outdoors' as their only toilets. According to the World Health Organization, India by far has the largest population in the world that relieves themselves in the open - usually in fields, forests, bushes or open bodies of water.
In order to eradicate open defecation, the Swachh Bharat Mission was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 2, 2014 with the goal of achieving open defecation free and clean India by 2019. It was launched after Modi noted that the lack of toilets in schools also hampers the education of many children, especially girl students.
According to the recent survey more than 62 per cent households in rural India have access to toilets till June. As many as 64 public sector units, including Life Insurance Corporation of India and State Bank of India, and 11 private firms, such as Coca Cola and ITC, has contributed in building toilets in schools.
The list of states which has topped in toilet coverage is Haryana and Kerala. The two states came out as top performers in the northern and southern parts of the country respectively. While Bihar has recorded the least with only 30 per cent follwed by Jharkhand & Uttar Pradesh with 37 per cent and Odisha with 40 per cent.
Surprisingly, the data also indicate that despite the cleanliness mission targeting students by providing toilets in schools, a percentage of children less than 15 years of age chose open defecation. In urban areas, 10.1 per cent of children did not use toilets while in villages, 56.6 per cent of children went for open defecation.
Open defecation is one of the major causes of disease anywhere in the world. Faeces provides the perfect breeding ground for a wide variety of parasites and flies, which invariably settle on hands, eyes and food, all obvious vectors for the transmission of disease. As the same areas are used daily, regular contact with parasites makes the transmission of disease from ground to human inevitable.
Why toilets are necessary for women:
According to a recent study, to maintain some privacy and dignity, women usually relieve themselves when it is dark. But doing so has left them vulnerable to risks, including snake bites and violent, sexual crimes. The report also suggested that women who defecate in the open are twice as likely to be raped than women who use a toilet.