Wednesday, November 19, 2014

World Toilet Day noted

The BBC notes that it's World Toilet Day with a set of international photos of "My Toilet"

Perhaps I shouldn't be mentioning this in the context of India while their rock star PM is here, a country strangely motivated to fly space missions while having trouble getting toilets to a huge proportion of their population.   (By the way, I had not realised how nationalistic expat Indians could be until now.) 

But it is true, Modi does recognize his national toilet problem, even though the issue there involves more than just building them. According to a recent report, even if villages have toilets available, a lot of people just still like doing it in the field:
The study found open defecation is very common, even in households with toilets. Toilet use did not necessarily increase with prosperity: in Haryana, one of India's richest states, most people in the villages continue to defecate in the open. Also, men living in households with toilets are more likely to defecate in the open than women.

Why do so many Indians still prefer not to use toilets, even if they are available?

The survey found a range of replies - most said they found it "pleasurable, comfortable, or convenient". Others said it "provides them an opportunity to take a morning walk, see their fields and take in the fresh air". Still others regarded open defecation as "part of a wholesome, healthy virtuous life".
It's a bit hard from a Western perspective to see the "virtue" in poo-ing in the open.   Even Greenies who might yearn for recycling their own will at least use a composting toilet.

The other recent story about Indian toilets was about a study indicating that having them available did not obviously improve local health.   Men doing it in the field despite a toilet being handy may well account for part of that.

No comments: