Clean toilets are imperative for growth

Upgradation and construction of toilets will increase the market for products like toilets, drainpipes and soap and bring down mortality and morbidity rates.

It’s a proverb that ‘Cleanliness is next to Godliness’ and a recent report released by the water and sanitation division of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has proved it right.

The report argues that India can make huge profits by merely improving its sanitation. This includes working and clean toilets, proper sewage systems and soaps should be made available in public toilets for washing hands.

Very often, the absence of these amenities causes the transmission of lethal germs, bacteria and parasitic cysts from human waste to food or water, which is later consumed by human beings itself. It is followed by fatal illness, infection or maybe even death.

The widespread killer of children is diarrhoea, a water-borne disease and 79 percent of those afflicted with water-borne diseases are children of less than five years of age. Consequently, poor sanitation strikes children and poverty-stricken households the hardest. Therefore, better sanitation is not a choice but a requirement. The ADB surmised it can add almost 4 percent to our domestic product.

If the inhabitants are less prone to ailment or infection, Indians would be able to grow healthier. Healthcare expenses, which comprise a higher portion of earnings for the poor than the rich, would also drop down with the fall in infection and sickness levels.

With availability of clean and hygienic piped water, women would waste precious time fetching and carrying water. Approach to use to schools and workplaces would go up. Affluent homes will not have to shell out on bottled water or water purifying machines.

The ADB calculated that as India upgrades and constructs more toilets, the market for products like toilets, drainpipes, soap and other essentials will also increase. At present, this market is worth $6.6 billion and it could develop up to $15 billion by 202, if the government bolsters its sanitation programmes. Along with bringing down mortality and sorrow rates, improved sanitation can also have unforeseen benefits like rise in influx of tourists as they would find India an improved, cleaner and less foul smelling place to visit.

The conditions of public toilets across India is pathetic, with broken taps, irregular or no water supply and most of all no staff employed to clean the washrooms even for once in a day. This is the scene in cities; forget about the toilets at district levels, as there are no public toilets their yet. Most of the toilets are locked. Nobody manages these washrooms as adequate funds are not allocated.

I suggest that India should not just talk about the market and business profits or losses instead should focus on providing proper basic amenities to its citizens. It is matter of disgrace that even after 66 years of independence, 50 percent of the populace defecates in open. For a healthy and strong future generation, it is important to guarantee the practice of open defecation is entirely stopped. Huge amount of public money can be saved only if good sanitary conditions are maintained.

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