Developmental aid has reached far corners of the globe, yet approximately 2.5 billion people live without adequate sanitation facilities. Basic sanitation is widely now recognized as a fundamental human right, the deprivation of which is known to affect the social, physical and economic well-being of societies world-wide. Ever since 1990, almost 1.9 billion more people now have access to improved sanitation. However, Fiinovation believes this is not enough. A review of the current trends of Millennium Development Goals reveals, 2.4 billion people will still lack access to improved sanitation facilities in 2015 and the target will be missed by half a billion people.
Around 50% of the population of approximately 45 countries has very poor access to adequate sanitation facilities. Around 700,000 children (186,000 Indians) die every year from diarrhea caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation. That amounts to almost 2,000 children a day.
The Risk of microbial contamination (bacteria, viruses, amoeba) of water which causes diarrhoea in children is very high in India with 594 million Indians defecating in the open and 44% mothers disposing their children’s faeces in the open.
Why Toilets are Important?
- Every $1 spent on water and sanitation generates returns of $8 in saved time, increases productivity and reduces health costs.
- Clean and safe toilets help keep more girls in school and increase attendance rates.
- Sanitation would make 1.25 billion women’s lives safer and healthier.
- On any given day, more than 800 million women between the ages of 15 and 49 are menstruating. Adequate and appropriate sanitation and hygiene facilities can provide a comfortable space for women to manage their menstrual cycles with privacy and dignity.
- Poor sanitation and water supply also result in economic losses estimated at $260 billion annually in developing countries.
As the world faced dramatic consequences on human health, dignity and security, the environment, and social and economic development for not having access to proper sanitation, including toilets or latrines, the World Toilet Day was coined. The “Sanitation for All” Resolution was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in July 2013 and was supported by more than 120 countries that designated 19 November as World Toilet Day. Fiinovation understands the importance of this day and the role it plays in creating awareness about the importance of toilets. Fiinovation through its social development projects has been working on improving sanitation facilities on the ground.
The Prime Minister of India has urged people, corporate houses and other organizations to start construction of toilets across the country. The call has been answered by big companies such as TCS, Coca Cola, Bharti and Coal India among others who have decided to construct toilets as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility. Recently, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in association with the Ministry of Urban Development, launched the Urban Water, Sanitation and Hygiene alliance (WASH) to address water and sanitation challenges in India. USAID will contribute 20 million for the Clean India initiative. Looking at the present scenario we might not reach the desired target by 2015, but we should surely invest our work in contributing to the post-2015 development agenda of providing Sanitation to All.
“I am known to be a Hindutva leader. My image does not permit to say so, but I dare to say. My real thought is — Pehle shauchalaya, phir devalaya’ (Toilets First,Temples Later) – Prime Minister, Narendra Modi
By – Rahul Choudhury