You can’t be a toilet-blogger in 2015 and not write about India, where a sanitation revolution is happening at the moment. As the government there battles to install indoor toilets and to persuade people of the value of indoor sanitation, my daily toilet newsfeed is thronged with stories of India, and the new toilet policy’s successes and failures.
In today’s The Hindu, a story reports on teachers and toilets in the Vijayapura district. Of the 16,000 teachers in the district, 2,000 do not have a toilet in their home. The district-in-charge minister is worried by this news. Apparently, teachers are responsible for encouraging students to build indoor toilets and they cannot do this if they are not building their own toilets. Apparently, the fact that the government grant for installing indoor toilets is smaller in urban areas (about 5,000 rupees) than in rural districts (about 15,000 rupees) and so the take-up in cities is not as good as was hoped.
According to Graphic Online, measures are being taken in Ghana to address the same problem. A story there outlines the scale of the problem in a country where only 15% of people use “improved household toilet facilities” and “open defecation” is a frequent problem. The government has instructed district assemblies to deal with the problem on a local level and apparently this has led to many communities deciding to build “communal latrines”, rather than toilets in individual houses “following on from our traditions”. It is reported that this has led to little improvement in the open defecation situation as people are unwilling to walk to the communal facilities at night time and provision is rarely being made to keep these latrines clean.
The article does have a bright side, however, describing “fecal entrepreneurs” who are like the alchemists of old, turning shit into gold, by building and servicing communal and household toilets all over the country.
On a lighter note, Wrexham.com, reports on the situation in the Westminster parliament, where the devolution of power to the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish assemblies means that for the first time, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish MPs are excluded from Westminster votes on matters that only effect England. One such vote was occurring on Thursday evening, when a Welsh MP ventured to use the parliamentary toilets. He tweeted:
Finally today, a photo of some sexist toilet doors that were causing a storm on reddit today. Feel the rage.