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 statistics, worldwide, there are one billion people who don’t have a toilet and Indians make up 60% of this figure.
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.
More than 1.90 lakh toilets are being constructed across 941 gram panchayats in the state of Kerala. This includes individual houses, located at challenging and hilly terrains, as part of the sanitation programme by the state government of Kerala.
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 agency for sanitation, which is implementing the plan has confirmed that work on 35% of the toilets has already been completed and that the state will achieve the new milestone by November.
The mission was constituted with the vision of creating a waste free and a pollution free environment in Kerala. Public hygiene and cleanliness were other areas to work on.
In fact, the government is planning to invite PM Narendra Modi, who 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 we still have 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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