Going to regular shopping in the local central markets a common routine for everybody. But what happens when you park your car in the parking lot of the market, wearing your best shoes and best clothes, open the door of the car and step out. “Eeks!” You just stepped on somebody’s poop. Feeling disgusted, you rub your shoes against the footpath, cursing, you move on. Who did that? Why was it there? It’s not something we need to bother. Blame the government agencies, MCD, Central Government, and State Government and so on.
As a mother, it bothers me. When we are going somewhere and my kids spot some man urinating in public or poor children defecating in the open, they question me.
“Why are they doing that in the open?” they ask.
My answer, “they are poor and illiterate.”
“But why don’t they do it in the toilet.” They continue.
“Because they are poor and don’t have a house and no toilets,” I answer them.
“What about hand wash?” the curious minds continue.
“Well! They don’t wash their hands.” I try to give them a suitable reply once again.
“Mom, you tell us that if we don’t wash our hands, we will fall sick. Don’t they fall sick?” the curiosity continues.
“Of course! They fall sick due to lack of hygiene and sanitation facilities.” I try to satisfy their curiosity.
As an individual, we try to give clothes, food, books and other utility items to help the poor and the needy but what about providing sanitation facilities?
Small steps lead to big change
Before blaming others, we should take the responsibility ourselves.
We distribute sweets and chocolates on the birthdays of our children, likewise, we can also distribute hygiene products like soaps or sanitizer to poor kids.
Giving soaps and shampoos to the maids and community helpers of our neighbourhood.
Spreading awareness about hygiene and sanitation.
Educating the poor like the maids, the community helpers and sweepers about the use of public toilets and teaching them the importance of washing hands.
Organising cleaning drives on a regular basis where we go out and take the initiative to clean our neighbourhood.
The Sulabh Model of Toilets
The Toilet Museum of Delhi is one of the very interesting places in the city. The museum not only exhibits various models of toilets but provides a solution to one of the biggest problems of our country – Sanitation.
The Sulabh model of toilets is perhaps the simplest and the most cost-effective way of dealing with the problem of sanitation in our country.
Some of the advantages of Sulabh flush composting toilets are:
1. Hygienically and technically right
2. Socially acceptable
3. Affordable and easy to build with available material.
4. Eliminates mosquitoes, flies and insect breeding.
5. Free from health hazards and does not cause pollution
6. Easy to maintain, simple and cost-effective
7. Needs less space and less water
8. Converts the waste into biogas, rich fertilisers, soil conditioner, manure and clean and reusable water.
9. Can be easily constructed in the premises of the house, terrace or for the public needs
10. Can be easily connected to sewers.
When I visited the Toilet Museum, the cleanliness of the area amazed me and to think that there is a human waste treatment plant. There was no odour, the biogas is to light the bulbs and cook food, the manure and fertilisers are used for the plants and the clean and reusable water for watering the plants. The best part – no pollution anywhere of any kind.
Encouraging the Sulabh Model of Toilets and the waste treatment plants like these can go a long way in dealing with the problem of poverty and sanitation in our country.