Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Open Defecation – A Stinking Reality #ToiletForBabli

With the advent of the digital age – from the creation of primitive computers to highly pixellated displays with 4G LTE services and superfast multi-core processors containing smartphones, the world including India has taken great strides in Science and technology. However, all these inventions have no significant meaning, since some of the most basic problems that inhibit human development have not yet been solved. Poverty is still a serious issue that has not been eradicated in India completely in 67 years of independence.

Open defecation is one of the sub-problems of poverty, that is, it occurs as a result of poverty. Open defecation, simply put, is excretion by people in the public. India ranks the first in terms of the number of people who defecate in the open and the estimated number stands at an appalling 597 million. This is indeed a stinking reality.   


Open defecation is also practiced by people because of their cultural or habitual preferences.  So people defecate in all sorts of surroundings such as amongst bushes, trees, secluded open spaces in fields, local rivers and streams etc. This can also be due to reasons of unavailability of properly constructed toilets in their homes. When it comes to Indian public toilets, we can say for sure that no one would like to even enter the premises. Many of them turn out to be filthy, broken, dark with poor maintenance. There is also a risk of personal safety, especially when they are shared toilets. We never know when a criminal would pounce upon us.

Even in Chennai, I have seen people attending to nature's call along the banks of the cooum - the river that unnecessarily brings a bad name to it. Already the river is a stinking mess and people freely pollute it with their innards' waste. People rather pee in public than affording to go to a nasty, distant public toilet. That's also a reason.

We can guess the results of this practice easily. Firstly, it stinks. And secondly, the concept of hygiene goes out of question. Open defecation results in a number of diseases such as diarrhoea, typhoid, Cholera, Polio and other intestinal worm infections. Small children also tend to ingest materials on the ground when they crawl on the ground.  That is just unthinkable!
Another effect is the loss of dignity. Especially in the case of women, when there are no safe toilets, their dignity is gone and in many cases can also result in rapes, sexual molestation, in hours of darkness.

Coming to the main purpose of this article - Domex, as many of us would know, is a popular toiletry brand belonging to Hindustan Univer Limited. It currently runs the Domex Toilet Academy (DTA) program. Launched last year, it aims to provide a permanent, long-term solution to provide sanitation that benefits the local community. The DTA makes toilets accessible and affordable, thereby promoting the benefits of clean toilets and good hygiene. Their mission is to build 24000 toilets by 2015 in rural areas that still practice open defecation.

The Prime minister of India, recently launched the Swachh Bharat campaign and what Domex is doing now could well be a good starting point.
You can bring about the change in the lives of millions of kids, thereby showing your support for the Domex Initiative. All you need to do is “click” on the “Contribute Tab” on domex website and Domex will contribute Rs.5 on your behalf to eradicate open defecation, thereby helping kids like Babli live a dignified life.


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