15th August seems like a befitting day to raise awareness on portable sanitation. This is the historic date on which India gained her freedom post many years of struggle. Today, 67 years hence, we struggle against another challenge: to make clean sanitation a possibility for each and every Indian.
There are many lessons we learn from history and our own history is filled with stories of valour, compassion and hope. ‘Loo-king’ back, what was most inspiring was that for the first time all Indians had united for a cause.
The time has come for us to unite once again as our dream has only been half achieved. Majority of Indians still suffer daily indignities for basics such as water and sanitation.
As per a recent report by the WHO-UNICEF about 792 million Indians do not have access to an improved sanitation facility.
This is disappointing but not unexpected. We did not reach this shocking number overnight. This came to be due to years & years of neglect. Public hygiene has never been a priority and now the results are for all to see. As a society we never really invested time & money to raise awareness. Fact is, what we’re looking at here is not a lack of means but a lack of will.
Culturally we’ve not looked at toilets as being fundamental to true development. But sanitation is not something we can overlook any longer as today the absence of toilets is actually coming in the way of us achieving success as individuals and as a nation; what with the increasing number of cases of malnutrition amongst children, rampant spread of diseases and decades of stunted growth.
If we’re disease prone and physically underdeveloped then how can we be expected to compete with rest of the world? Not to forget the daily inconvenience and other dangers that we subject almost half our populace to.
The writing’s on the wall. We need to act. And, we need to ACT NOW!
On our 68th Independence, let us come together and pledge to make this simple dream of toilets a reality for those Indians that still go wanting for the basics of human life.