TODAY -

Turning the landscape into a toilet : Defecating, urinating in the open
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: October 17 2015 -



Open defecation. India is right up there with at least 600 million of her population defecating in the open and this works out to around 47 percent of the total population having no toilets.

Tough to believe that this is the scenario in this age.

No wonder Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken such a keen interest in the Swachh Bharat Mission where constructing toilets for the citizens has been stressed on.

To think that nearly 50 percent of the 1.28 billion population openly relief themselves in the open is mind boggling but this is a fact and the Nation can no longer afford to pretend otherwise.

Open defecation is no doubt closely linked with the economic status of the people, but more than this, what it also says is the priority placed on hygiene.

Moreover how about the women ?

Of the 600 million people who practise open defecation, nearly 300 million must be women and this is a huge number by any stretch of the imagination.

How do women relief themselves in the open ?

With no privacy, the best refuge is darkness so this means that the only time for nearly 300 million Indian women to attend to nature’s call is either in the night or in the wee hours of the morning when the world is still sleeping.

To think that this can happen in a country where the traditional thoughts have placed so much importance on the concept of the pure and the impure and surely somewhere the people have got their priorities all muddled up.

No wonder India is generally seen as a filthy country and go to any part of the country and it is not uncommon to see human wastes scattered all over the place.

A common sight it must be for many who venture out near railway tracks or the densely wooded areas in the interior parts of the country.

No wonder the Government of India has taken up a special drive to ensure that toilets are built for the citizens.

Open defecation is more than filth and dirt, for there is also the health factor to contend with.

In many ways this practise is correlated with public health for faecal wastes can lead to water pollution which in turn can give rise to many water borne diseases.

Diarrhoea, intestinal worm infections, cholera, typhoid and child mortality may correlated to water borne diseases.

This is about India as a whole and where does Manipur stand ?

Unlike other parts of the country, open defecation may not be such an issue here, but there is still the need for maintaining public hygiene.

Like many other parts of the country, here too the concept of the pure and impure reigns high, but the understanding of cleanliness remains confined to one’s private place.

The piling garbage, the clogged drains and the dusty roads which turn to slush at the slightest drizzle should give more than a fair idea of how the concept of public cleanliness does not exist.

Maybe open defecation may be limited, but not so when it comes to urinating in public places.

This is a shame and all the more reason for the State Government to take the Swachh Bharat Mission with the seriousness it deserves.



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