“Sanitation is more important than Independence ” was what Gandhiji said years ago. Cleanliness aggrandizes the economic and social growth of the nation at large as well as of every individual. It is an integral part of healthy and peaceful living. A clean surrounding helps an individual to centralize his mind and work peacefully for better living. Among all the activities which are on their way of eradication for making our country clean, open defecation is still a major problem in India.
About one billion people worldwide defecate in the open. India is the only country with an estimated figure of around 600 million people who defecate in the open on a daily basis instead of in a designated toilet, according to a report by the United Nation open defecation has served the cause of very dangerous health hazards like cholera, diarrhoea, typhoid, dysentery, hepatitis A and many more according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The swachh Bharat mission has set a goal to eradicate open defecation in India completely by 2019. In the swachh Bharat program, the Prime Minister is providing toilets to each and every household in the rural areas. For achieving the objective of universal easy access to toilets by 2019, the government is constructing at most 10 crore toilets within 5 years to eradicate open defecation.
There can be many reasons for any individual to defecate in the open which may vary from region to region. Some do not prefer to go to the toilet because of the unavailability of toilets whereas in some places the toilets are of a low quality which is unclean, foul – smelling and unsafe. Due to low maintenance sometimes there is a fear of injury as there is a huge chance of misconstrue. In fact, I would say illiteracy and ignorance about the benefits of using toilets are the major reason of open defecation and that is why the provided toilets are utilized as storage rooms. Behavioral change and awareness about open defecation is a must.
According to the WHO, one billion in every three billion people in the world are deprived of sanitation facilities which include 946 million of them defecating in the open. In fact after the launch of swachh Bharat program, there is a slight reduction by 31% in open defecation in India.
Coming on differentiating between rural and urban areas the situation is much better in urban areas. In rural areas, 45.3% families reported having toilet whereas 88.8% families have bathroom amenities in urban areas. And further NSSO’s swachhata survey found that among households having a sanitary toilet 95.6% are using it. Under swachh Bharat Abhiyan, the incentive of the individual toilet has been increased from ₹10000 to ₹12000 to provide water.
Lastly, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan would at least guarantee that people would become more aware of the importance of cleanliness and hygiene. If one wants to change the world for a better cause, one should bring the change in own self. The change in an individual would be the first step for the change he wants to see. The dream of a clean nation is seen by everyone but hardly anyone takes an incentive. This mission has invigorated our hearts and minds to work together for a clean and green India.