By Mayank Jain:
A single disease: Diarrhoea but a mammoth impact on lives. 1000 innocent children are dying across the country due to this single deadly disease. The problem is much worse in rural areas than the urban cities and proper hygiene is the major reason behind this massacre.
Diarrhea in children implies acute dehydration and fluid loss which results in shutting down of bodily systems and as a result, death. Diarrhea is caused by taking contaminated food or water which maybe a result of lack of hygiene. In rural areas, hygiene and sanitation are foreign words as rudimentary practices rule the daily lives of people who haven’t heard of things like soap, sanitizers or even flush toilets.
Open defecation is one of the biggest sources of unhygienic living conditions and contaminated food and water that is fed to children and parents alike. Sanitation is a very personal issue but open defecation practices where people go and defecate in any open field they can find nearby their house is a burning issue that plagues rural India.
More than the unhygienic living conditions because of fecal waste around the village, it is a constant attraction for flies and bacteria which then go on to pollute water sources, food and farms of the people. People in villages where open defecation is practiced report very high number of illness incidents and the death count of children is sky high as well.
Uttar Pradesh leads the pack in regions with most open defecation and the figures definitely reflect in the illness cases reported round the year. Open defecation has been in the country for a long time and it is a hazard to both health and aesthetics of the country.
Another issue with open defecation is it violates the privacy of women and they have to deal with peeping eyes and stalkers every day when they go out to defecate in the open. Open defecation is a menace and a disgrace to the travel industry of the country as well and it must be stopped. Real action is required to put an end to the practice and ensure a healthier life for our brothers and sisters living in ignorance of the importance of sanitation and hygiene.
UNICEF and the government of India have joined hands and they are working towards it but real change starts from the individual mobilization towards the cause. People like us who live in metropolitans far away from the realities of the major chunk of India should give it a thought and we should promote the issue over social media if not anything else.
On ground action and helpful initiatives can also be taken by aligning with NGOs working in this sector and sanitation practices can be improved by giving a platform to this issue and raising voices for a better lifestyle and health to the other part of this nation which is often ignored when it comes to doing something good for others.
ADDITIONALLY, Youth Ki Awaaz has tied up with UNICEF India to give you the opportunity to speak against the menace of open defecation, and get your ideas, solutions and discussion points delivered directly to the President of India. Click here to join the discussion.