Headline, January 15 2019/ '' 'TOILETS' -ASIAN- TRAUMAS ' ''


''INDIA AND BANGLADESH'' AS 'PROUD PAKISTAN'S' - very special neighbours have done very well by building public toilets and thus improving public health.

India has succeeded in building 120 million public toilets in the last five years. Bangladesh is also making great and notable progress in this area.

IN 2004 - NINE YEARS BEFORE THE UN designated Nov 19 World Toilet Day, I visited Bombay to attend the World Social Forum.

Early in the morning on the second day of our arrival in the port city, Rabeeya, another member of the Pakistan delegation, and I decided to take a stroll along the beach while our colleagues slept.

As we reached the sandy shores we encountered a bizarre sight. We saw hordes and hordes of what looked like pelicans perched on the edge of the waters.

I was fascinated until Rabeeya squealed with horror.

What my failing vision saw as pelicans were actually men - hundreds of not thousands of them -squatting on the beach to relieve themselves. I was shocked beyond belief.

NOW that ''access to sanitation for all by 2030'' - Sustainable Development Goal 6 - has squarely placed the toilet issue on governments' agendas they can no longer be pushed under the rug.

!WOW! is happy about that, for its now clear to all that even the 'unmentionable' toilet has a close connection with the dynamics of power and privilege. After all, isn't it the poor who have defecate in the open?

Isn't it their women who wait for nightfall to go into the fields to answer the call of nature?

As the issue acquires serious magnitude I feel deeply for those men on the Bombay beach and the  2.4 billion others all over the world who have no access to a toilet when nature calls.

According to the Britain-based charity WaterAid, 700 million of them live in cities suppressing their embarrassment, hurt dignity and feeling of helplessness to defecate in the open.

The fact is that this is a public health issue and Pakistan, and Asia far and near, regrettably is one of the lowest ever, in the list of countries where a substantial number of people do not have access to decent toilets.

According to one estimate, in Pakistan, 41 million people in the country have to go into the open for a very natural function.

Small wonder that the incidence of infectious diseases is just so high. And, that, by the way very much includes polio.

That major factor behind the failure is the same as in the case of all our other failures: to curb population growth, to educate our children, to improve our people's health status, and, above all, to provide everyone with social protection.

It is basically the lack of political will of the leaders to provide the citizens what are the fundamental rights - constitutionally, politically and legally.

Any ruler with a social conscience who cares for the needs of the people would ensure that these needs are provided in the normal course.

There is also class issue. The privileged who are endowed with riches and could also have extended a helping hand have not done so. Otherwise there is no denying the fact that toilets are easy and cheap to build.

The real problem at the heart of the matter is also one of attitude. Although the adequacy and the state of toilets are fundamental to the health of the people, it is not considered dignified to even talk about them, let alone clean them.

Professor Ghazal Zulfiqar, who teaches at the Lahore University of Management Sciences, told me some year ago, about how she once described toilets in her course prospectus as-

The place where class, income and racial inequalities are made dramatically clear.

She confirmed that many of her students [all from elite backgrounds]  admitted that they had never cleaned their own toilets or even had a conversation with a woman who cleans toilets at home or in public places.

Activist Naeem Sadiq thinks Proud Pakistan needs to build 1 million toilets by 2025 and make the country an ''open defecation free'' [ODF] Pakistan.

The World and Asia needs to watch.

The Honor and Serving of the latest Global Operational Research on Societies, Countries and   Living, continues. The World Students Society thanks author Zubeida Mustafa.

With respectful dedication to Asia, Leaders, Grandparents. Students, Professors and Teachers, and then the world.

See Ya all prepare and register for Great Global Elections on The World Students Society : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter - !E-WOW!  - The Ecosystem 2011;

''' Legacies - Lastings '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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