Mission Paani | The Real Cost Of Sanitation and Hygiene In India
A recent study of Joint Monitoring Programs (JMP) conducted by WHO and UNICEF states that 15% of Indians do not have access to toilet facilities.
Poor hygiene and sanitation are two of the biggest problems facing India today. Poor hygiene is not only an issue in rural areas but also in cities. Many diseases stem from neglected hygiene like reproductive tract infections, respiratory illnesses, diarrhoea, skin diseases, and various parasitic infestations.
A recent study of Joint Monitoring Programs (JMP) conducted by WHO and UNICEF states that 15% of Indians do not have access to toilet facilities. It also says that 3.3% of the rural population and 1.7% of the urban population still lack adequate hygiene services. Similarly, 22.4% rural population and 1% urban population still continue the practice of open defecation.
The report also states that 1.7% of the Indian population still needs improvement with sanitation facilities, and 2.7% needs improvement with hygiene facilities.
How do Sanitation and Hygiene Impact People’s Health?
Fresh faeces can carry viruses and bacteria, which may lead to the transmission of diseases such as diarrhoea, cholera, dysentery, hepatitis A, typhoid and polio. It happens when insects land on the faeces and spread the disease elsewhere or when excrement contaminates water sources in groundwater or wells.
Poor Sanitation and Hygiene Causes Economic Losses
Poor sanitation costs are both direct and indirect. Direct costs are related to treating illnesses and injuries related to poor sanitation and increased medical expenses. Indirect costs include lost income due to illness and time and effort spent finding alternative ways to manage solid waste.
According to a 2006 report, sanitation and hygiene cost India Rs. 2.44 trillion a year. The losses are due to health-related, water-treatment-related, tourism-related and access time.
Let’s see how each sector impacts the economy of India.
• Health-related Impact:
The health-related impacts are caused due to premature deaths, costs for treating diseases, productive time lost due to illness, and time lost by the person taking care of ill ones.
In health-related losses, diarrhoea is the major contributor and causes a more considerable economic loss when treating it. Other diseases include malaria, measles, trachoma, ALRI and other causes.
• Water-Treatment Impact:
The water-related losses include treating household water, purchasing watered bottles, costs due to fetching water from long distances and costs of obtaining piped water.
The major impact was due to treating household water and drinking water.
• Access time Impact:
The access time loss is due to time spent using public toilets or open defecation sites and the absence of toilets in school and at work.
• Impact on Tourism:
The lack of toilets at tourist places causes illness in many foreign tourists, impacting tourism revenues and India’s economy. The losses are due to lost tourism earnings and tourist illness.
As per the reports, the total loss of these four impacts was equivalent to 6.4% of GDP.
Impact of Poor Sanitation on School Drop Outs
Two out of five schools do not have separate toilet facilities for girls. Poor sanitation in schools results in lower attendance, dropouts, and lower literacy rates, especially among girl students. This causes 23% of girls to drop out of school every year.
A rapid survey report on children shows that 22% of schools do not have toilets for girls, and 58% of preschools do not have toilets.
To Wrap Up
Over 100 million toilets were constructed, especially in rural areas where sanitation and hygiene problems were more deep-rooted. Swachh Bharat Abhiyan has encouraged promoting campaigns, collaborating with celebs for ads and hygiene posters across the country.
You can also play a role in developing the sanitation facilities and improving hygiene in India by becoming a part of Mission Paani, an initiative by News18 and Harpic India. Even a small action on your part can have a far-reaching impact on the world.
Log on to https://www.news18.com/mission-paani/ and join the movement.