65 Percent of Population without Toilet - 3 Jan 11

03 Jan 2011  Vrindavan, India

Category: Society

Now we have entered the second decade of the 21st century. It sounds like a lot and of course, with time mankind is progressing and the whole world is developing. Still however there are many countries where you wonder whether this progress and development has forgotten about some areas, some parts of the country and some parts of life. Of course we were talking a lot about such things with my friends who are in India for the first time. We talked about effectiveness and cleanliness, about how people work and how people build but also about the very simple things of life, for example where people go for shitting if they don’t have a toilet.

India may have made great development especially in the IT sector and some of the smartest business men come from here. India’s best doctors work all over the world and people even travel here for getting their surgery done. But don’t be surprised, in this country which is progressing so much, if you see people sitting and shitting at the side of the road. Completely unabashed women and men hold their buttocks over a ditch, often happily chattering with each other while letting it flow. It is a very common sight and for many people a daily ritual out in nature.

In India, 700 Million people have mobile phones but only 360 Million people have toilets! With India’s population of a bit over a Billion people, this makes about 35% of the population of India. 65% of the population do not have a toilet and go out to do their business outside. In rural areas this percentage is even more. There, only up to 26% people use toilets. I would love to say that the rest of them goes out in nature but unfortunately this is not entirely true. Development has brought too many tarred streets and paved ways. For many people the drain on the side of the road is the place to go and squat down. This is what they teach their children.

You can imagine what the consequences are. Not only does it look ugly to see the sewage just at the side of the road but there are serious health consequences, too. Think of those people who don’t have access to cleansed and filtered drinking water. Think of bacteria and pollution, of infections and diseases. The biggest reason for child death in India are infections and unfortunately polluted drinking water is one of the causes.

This all happens in the country of 69 billionaires. Again, I would also say that money is spent in the wrong ways. India is a religious country and if we could just spend as much money on building toilets as is spent on building temples, a big change could come into this country. People have a big budget to spend on religious rituals, why don’t we spend some more money to make our daily ritual a bit more comfortable and healthy?

In our school we also try to teach poor children hygiene. They learn to wash their hands, they tell their parents that water and milk has to be cooked before they can drink it and many more small precautions. Keeping the place where you live clean is the main thing to save you from infections and bacteria. Unfortunately however the sewage and toilet problem is not a priority in government policies and peoples’ minds.

I have the hope however that we will further develop and some day there will be nobody sitting at the side of the road for doing his job.

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Tags:: Children, Health, Money, Nature, Religion, Work, Rituals, Death, Society , Time, Disease, India, Poor

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Posted By Swami Balendu

Swami Balendu

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Comments

In Beijing the babies wear what are called split pants and this makes it easier for them to just pee or poo as it were on the side of the streets. Actually what's even worse than this is the fact that sometimes rather than finding a toilet in a shopping mall parents bring the children over to the trash can and then they pee there. And at first I was a little disgusted by this, but actually now...I am used to it in a way.

Reply By Tricia on August 27, 2012 03:20


I know that problem from my own country. People in Bosnia tend to spend vast amounts of money for new churches, instead of investing in industry and education, so that less people could be without work. In general this might be the problem of many poor countries: uneven distribution...

Reply By Mirela on August 20, 2012 04:22


This is an interesting paradox. I heard that Vrindavan had a sewage line installed underground the same year that they got 3G cell phone networks. Funny how people have these priorities. Is it because they don't really want to use a toilet? Or are they not aware of the health consequences of not properly disposing of sewage? I guess it's only a matter of time before everyone will use a toilet in India. Some things progress slower than others, I suppose.

Reply By Emily on October 26, 2011 11:06


Here is a link to a list of countries by number of billionaires. India is third after the US and China: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_the_number_of_US_dollar_billionaires. Here is a link that lists percentages of national populations living under the international poverty line of 1.25 USD per day. That is 41.6 % of India's pop. 75.6 percent lives on less than 2 dollars a day. That is unbelievable: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_percentage_of_population_living_in_poverty

Reply By Carl Rodgers on January 19, 2011 03:34


Vandana Shiva is an Indian author and intellectual who writes a great deal about the destruction of a traditionally sustainable and environmentally sound lifestyle through the westernization of India. I'd highly recommend any of her works.

Reply By Rich from Colorado on January 19, 2011 03:26


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