India is the world’s largest country with the world’s largest democracy. Unfortunately, it is the No. 1 country jn the world for open defecation as it doesn’t have enough toilets. Hundreds of millions of people in the country end up defecating outside, which can spread diseases including cholera, typhoid, and COVID-19. Poor sanitation in India leads to over 126,000 deaths every year from diarrheal diseases.
Over 344 million people live without regular access to toilets in the country, according to 2017 statistics from the World Health Organization and UNICEF. Huge strides have been made to reduce that figure through Swachh Bharat and other sanitation efforts. WHO and UNICEF report the number of people practicing open defecation was twice as high in 2000, at 764 million.
Overpopulation and a lack of sanitation infrastructure have contributed to this health crisis. Additionally, India has often failed to properly maintain public toilets after they’re built.3.6 billion people still care for toilets because they don’t have one that works properly. Health is under threat if some people in the community do not have safe toilets. Poor sanitation contaminates drinking water sources, rivers, beaches, and food crops, spreading deadly diseases among the wider population.
The theme for World Toilet Day 2021 is “Valuing toilets”. World Toilet Day is celebrated annually on 19th November to inspire action to tackle the global sanitation crisis and help achieve Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6), which promises sanitation for all by 2030. The day was designated by the UN General Assembly on 24 July 2013 by resolution A/RES/67/291.
This years theme really remembers the importance of the toilet and the necessity to save the lives of thousands of children. Every year, almost 400 children under five in India die from diarrhea linked to poor sanitation and hygiene. Diarrhea and other sanitation-related diseases prevent children from being able to absorb the nutrients in the food, leading to undernutrition. Open defecation leads to the reduction of physical and cognitive development in children and it results in poor educational outcomes. Sanitation is very important to women and girls for their health and safety. Menstrual hygiene is inevitable for them.
Toilets are essentials for clean, and healthy communities and contribute to the social and economic development of India. Thus its our responsibility to make sure proper sanitation for health and development.