One of the most neglected social issues of our times is lack of adequate sanitation facilities. According to United Nations 2.5 billion people do not have access to adequate sanitation facilities, and approximately 1 billion people still defecate in the open. In India, 600 million people don’t have access to good sanitation facilities. The conditions are worse in the rural areas of India, where only 21 per cent of the people have access to improved sanitation facilities.
Poor sanitation can cause many health hazards. Lack of sanitation facilities increases the risk of malnutrition and diseases. Nearly, 5.9 million children die every year under the age of five, poor sanitation is considered to be one of the biggest culprit for deteriorating mother-child health.
Poor sanitation is not always a case of accessibility. In number of studies it was found that some people having the resources to build toilets thought of it as a useless investment. In rural areas people are ignorant about the hazards of poor sanitation on health and prefer to defecate in the open fields. Women in the villages have to suffer the most due to the absence of private toilets. Women have to wait till dark to relieve themselves which adversely affects their health. Defecating in the open not only leaves women vulnerable to diseases, but also sexual abuses. Thus, building toilets has close relations with health and safety of the entire family.
Our honorable Prime Minister Sh. Narendra Modi also holds poor sanitation as one of the biggest challenges India has to tackle. He urged all the citizens to build toilets under the “Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan”. United Nations observes 19th November as World Toilet Day to spread awareness about good sanitation practices. Access to clean water and sanitation is a human right and all nations must ensure that no one is deprived of this right.
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