Open Defecation is one of those harsh realities that still persist in India. In fact, the extent of open defecation in India presents a major health and safety issue. According to WHO stats, worldwide, there are one billion people who don’t have a toilet and Indians make up 60% of this number.
Despite on being track with other developments in the country, open defecation has time and again posed threats to the ‘developed country’ dream.
It is still practiced in India not because of less number of toilets but because of ingrained social norms. Even now people believe that defecating in the open is more natural and healthy and building a latrine in the house brings impurity to it!
With statistics painting such a dirty picture and health organisations declaring India as one of the countries with most people answering the nature’s call in public, it is definitely alarming!
India, to move past this ‘dirty’ picture on the globe and to make the people in the country aware, has been taking several measures. Several open defecation restricting schemes were started under the Swachh Bharat mission, like ‘Gift A Toilet’ or ‘Malyuddh’.
Under the ‘Gift A Toilet’ scheme, on the eve of Rakshabandhan, brothers were encouraged to gift their sisters a clean toilet. Under ‘Malyuddh’, a team of women and children were deployed to whistle at people to discourage them from practising open defecation.
Bearing fruit to these efforts, the state of Kerala is now going to be declared open defecation free on its formation day on November 1st, adding yet another feather in its cap.
A total of more than 1.90 lakh toilets are being constructed across the 941 gram panchayats in the state of Kerala, including in individual houses, located at critically challenged and hilly terrains, as part of the sanitation programme by the state government.
In addition to this, the state has been providing special ODF funds to fishermen and native people for construction of toilets in their localities and running several awareness programmes on benefits of using these toilets.
Suchitwa Mission, the state nodal agency for sanitation, which is implementing the plan has confirmed that work on 35 per cent of the toilets has already been completed and that the state will achieve the new milestone by November.
The mission is constituted under the state local self government department with the vision of creating a waste free Kerala with a pollution-free environment, public hygiene and cleanliness.
In fact, the CPI(M) led LDF government is planning to invite Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has launched the Swachh Bharat mission for a Clean India, to attend the state-level function to be held in Thiruvananthapuram and declare Kerala open defecation free.
Though its a huge accomplishment but it shouldn’t be forgotten that it’s still a long way to go. Entirely eradicating the menace of open defecation from India should be the next milestone.
Lets make the ‘Swachh Bharat’ and ‘Open Defecation Free India’ dream a reality.
Lets say no to Open Defecation.
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Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.