India leads the world in open defecation

After sending this meme page to my brother last week, he came back with this depressing/disturbing documentary video about the problem, i.e. about half the people in India don’t use toilets to defecate. It’s mostly the poor, who don’t even have toilets, or have very limited access to one, but it’s depressing that there’s not even any effort to organize where people defecate outdoors. It seems like it wouldn’t take much organization/money/labor to make a latrine here and there that could vastly improve the situation, but in the absence of even that, people continue to drop-and-squat in whatever random location suits them, resulting in vast sanitary minefields. :frowning:

Yes. I hate to say it, but it’s pretty gross. I went to India a number of times in my teen years and it is awful, especially in Old Delhi and Calcutta. Calcutta was downright gross. That doesn’t even count the dogs, cows, pigs and goats, who all also poop wherever.

It’s very sad. Such a wonderful amazing country, full of beauty, but ignorance is still predominant and as you say, poverty is rampant.

“we’re number two!! We’re number two!!”

Tom Arnold voice:

Yeah, but who do they work for?

This needs to be a Jeopardy question of some sort.

There’s a motto you want to inscribe on your Department of State stationary…

We’re number one in number two!

I boarded a Gujarati cow-orker who was here temporarily for projects. Twice! I didn’t learn my lesson the first time. It is exceedingly difficult to tell an adult human being (let alone a coworker) that they’re using the bathroom incorrectly, then mime the correct method because their English is so bad you don’t want anything to get lost in translation.

He still didn’t get it 100% (I don’t think he was ever going to stop squatting), but at least it stopped the soiled toilet paper from being left on the floor around the toilet, in the garbage can, on top of the toilet, etc. Completely different standards of hygiene. Yuck.

And yet last year when India put a probe in orbit around Mars everyone here was oohing and cooing and praising their accomplishment. I dared to suggest they may have their priorities a bit off and should maybe address basic sewage first.

You would have thought I suggested kicking puppies from the reactions I got.

They are trying. It’s not as though the government has just tossed its hands in the air and said, “Welp, clearly they’re never going to learn, let’s launch a probe to Mars.”

The government has been trying to drag the country kicking and screaming into the century of the fruitbat. Not all people want to come. The country is still relatively young and there’s a good deal of corruption.

One just needs to spin it a bit - like renaming the issue “Meal Recycling Initiative”. Now your letterhead reads “India, the world leader in open MRI!”.

I shoulda been in advertising…

Bolded portion. Is there some deeper meaning to the phrase “century of the fruitbat”, or was that an autocorrect thing?

Ah, NVM, a Discworld thing. I suppose it makes sense if you’ve read it.

My only point, and I will leave it after this because I really don’t have that strong of an interest, is that if you have millions to spend to send up a space probe that really does nothing other than give you bragging rights, wouldn’t it be better to use those millions to build a sewer system in a city that could actually benefit many of your people?

Perhaps it’s part of a long term plan to fling feces into space.

Sounds like the cow did the proper amount of orking.

Some places have septic systems that can’t handle rougher waste like TP, so the garbage makes sense. The floor does not make sense, of course.

So I guess the street food (that gets walked over by the flies) is not all that safe to eat?:smack:

Not really. :smiley:

It’s not just a question of being unhygenic. In India, women who are forced to use open air toilets are at risk for being kidnapped and raped -

Also, it’s important to note that there is a caste problem tied into this, as well. Traditionally, the open air toilets were cleaned by a particular branch of Untouchables, who manually picked up the feces and carried them off in leaky baskets balanced on their heads.

It has to be said: open air toilets are not a poverty thing so much as a Hindu practice. It was a common feature among Hindu household for centuries and that’s why it’s so hard for India to change it.

The Muslim communities in India are, on average, poorer and less educated than the Hindu communities. And yet, Muslim communities are more like to use toilets. As a result, Muslim children are healthier and more likely to survive than Hindu children.

The original article discussing how open defecation leads to stunted childhood growth -

Ars Tech followed that up with an article showing the specific differences in child mortality in India between the majority religious groups is largely attributable to open air defecation:

I don’t mean to be rude to the Hindus but the problem of open air toilets needs to be addressed more as a cultural problem than a poverty problem. And yes, of course - it is also a poverty problem. Any country with a sizeable homeless population must face similar concerns.

That line about your neighbor’s hygiene being a bigger problem than any one person’s hygiene is correct. A community’s health and waste management is very much a public concern.

India also leads the world in the consumption of scotch. Hmmm?

Governments can do more than one thing at a time.