Money for poo, goats in the loo and a long walk to pee

All three stories today come from India, where Prime Minister Modi’s toilet revolution, “Swachh Bharat” is continuing with its share of problems.

DNA India reports on a positive story from the village of Kairi in Bihar, where farmer Yogendra Nath, got in touch with NGO Water Aid, who had built 31 toilets in a neighbouring village and got funding to build a similar toilet in her village. They are eco-toilets, which convert human urine and faeces, with the addition of ash, into fertiliser. After six months of use, Nath no longer needs to buy chemical fertiliser and was able to replace it with humanure of the villagers’ own invention, saving them thousands of rupees. “Humanure” is Today in Toilets word of the week.

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Kerala is district that has been declared “open-defecation-free”, but the story of the village of Kulappadi gives the lie to that, as reported in Scroll. It is a small isolated village, but every home has both a TV and a toilet, and it has a 100% literacy rate. In spite of this, it cannot be claimed that the village is open-defecation-free. The village suffers from severe water shortages, caused by a mixture of a historically dry conditions, overfarming of the land and climate change, and therefore the villagers cannot waste the water they walk long distances to collect on servicing their toilets. As a result, some villagers have given up on their bathrooms altogether and have started housing goats in their toilets.

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A goat in a Kulappadi toilet – from K Rajendran on Scroll.in

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Finally, a story about a Mumbai hospital which is in dispute with the owner of a pay-for-use toilet on site, which means that visitors to the hospital have to walk over a kilometre in order to use the toilet. The article, in Mid-Day, contains a number of sad stories of visitors being forced to leave severely ill and dying relatives’ bedsides in order to go to the toilet.  Some visitors have taken to urinating in the open at the hospital and others have tried sneaking into the emergency ward toilet meant for patients, but the report states that this toilet doesn’t have electricity and when it was last visited, it had no running water and was clogged to the extent that many visitors preferred to defecate in the open. The story told in this article is one of a hospital unrecognisable to a comfortable Western reader like me, and is well worth reading.

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