Millions Shun India’s Innovations in Solving Sanitation Problems | Source: Voice of America, Feb 18, 2016 |
In Geeta Colony, a crowded slum in the Indian capital, 45-year-old Meena Devi said she would rather walk into open areas in the vicinity of her tiny home for defecation than wait in snaking lines at the “filthy” community toilets. “The toilets are in terrible condition, there is no sewer system. Then they shut the doors at night,” she said.
Across Indian villages and towns, the government has accelerated a drive to build millions of toilets as it makes ending open defecation by an estimated 600 million people a rallying cry. Some 9 million toilets have been built since the campaign was launched a little over a year ago.
Shifting Social Norms
But sanitation experts say the campaign is faltering as many of the latrines lie unused. It is not just community toilets in festering urban slums that have discouraged people like Meena Devi from changing old habits. Tens of thousands of independent latrines built for village households are also shunned – mostly due to age-old cultural resistance to using them.
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