Toilets in India — a multi-faced problem with complicated solutions

One critical issue that is totally ignored in all of these articles is that proper sanitation requires massive amounts of water. Although a more complicated system could use dirty water, most toilets use water that would otherwise be suitable for drinking and turn the liquid into sewage that is not currently treated. As mentioned in another of today’s posts, India is in no position to divert drinking water to that purpose. So which matters more? Sanitation or enough water to drink? Indian authorities need to at least consider that issue.

These three articles highlight different aspects of the key fact that 53% (have also seen the number 60%) of Indian households had no toilets as of 2011.

(1) One effect is the continuance of the caste system that forces one group of people, based on birth, to handle the problems with human waste that’s not efficiently transported or treated. Many of these unfortunates, not being protected against the risks of these jobs, die.

(2) Efforts made by the Prime Minister to not only build new toilets but push the reluctant population to use them have gone to the extent, similar to China’s approach to the one-child family, of public shaming.

(3) Of all things, the issue has even been raised in a Bollywood movie based on a real case where a wife obtained a divorce when her new husband failed to provide a toilet.

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