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| Last Updated:20/10/2014

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Sustainable model for rural sanitation

mydigitalfc.com, 19 October 2014

 

Prime minister Narendra Modi has promised to build a toilet in every Indian home, especially in our villages. This is necessary and very admirable. For far too long, our village women have had to face the indignity of public defecation.

 

It is shameful that even six-and-a-half decades after independence, women in our villages and urban slums have to defecate in public. You see that while approaching both big cities and villages by train, as hundreds of men, women and children squat beside railway tracks and highways for their morning ablutions, raising terrible stench and often leading to tragic accidents. Absence of private toilets leaves poor women vulnerable to exploitation by criminals and perverts.

 

Public toilets are erected for slum dwellers without adequate sanitation and sewerage, rendering them unhygienic and unusable. Likewise, most rural sanitation schemes have failed, because they are fundamentally flawed at conceptualisation, as they are either designed as urban flush toilets or as pit latrines discharging into shallow, open drains. I have seen many such latrines unusable because of choked drains that also breed mosquitoes, causing malaria and dengue epidemics. This is why it is not at all difficult to smell out a toilet in our villages. Often they become such health hazards that villagers revert to defecating in the open. Read more....