#Poo2Loo: A Not-So-Crappy Solution to a Shitty Problem
The digestive system is responsible for the solid waste that ends up in our toilets, a.k.a. feces, poop that is.Toddlers are potty trained at a young age, and they have to start to do their business in the toilet. Imagine not having a toilet, where would human waste end up? Westerners take toilets for advantage, but in rural areas in India, the poor enforcement and the lack of proper sanitation and disposal of human waste is a severe problem. Feces is found out in the open, because there is no proper place to address nature’s calling. Poop isn’t a common subject spoken about in the media, but in India it certainly should be.
“First thing in the morning, what do I see, a pile of sh*t staring at me,” with such raw lyrics, the Poo2Loo: Poo Party video certainly brought attention to the unfortunate problem in India. With over 244,427 views, the Youtube video, released on January 8th of this year, depicts large poop dancing to a song about sanitation everywhere, while the human cartoons devise a plan to build a large toilet for the poop. The video featured large feces roaming around the streets of India, creating havoc, and showed the human cartoon characters fed up with the sh*t that was on every corner. With the catchy lyrics of “take the poo to the loo,” the students of IIT and Jamia Millia Islamia organized a flash mob and danced to the song to raise awareness last month about the 620 million people of India who openly defecate in public due to the lack of toilets available in rural areas.
The Poo2Loo campaign was created for the sole purpose of raising awareness and spurring change for this issue of unsanitary defecation around India. In India, poverty and location plays a major role in this issue. The poor, which make up 20% of the population, do not have any access to toilets and 70% of the people residing in rural areas don’t have access either.
Toilets are a basic necessity; it’s a safe method of disposing of human waste and has been throughout history, yet to have areas without toilets is sad and dangerous for health and welfare. Providing toilets and proper sanitation for the people of India is not a matter of just giving the underprivileged basic needs, but a matter of saving lives. According to the campaign, due to public defecation, children are more likely to suffer from several infectious ailments. Feces left out in the open can cause people to acquire illnesses such as getting worms, infections, viruses, diarrhea, amoeba, malnutrition, stunting, and pneumonia from the feces contaminating the water or being on the land. This affects whole families and can severely damage an individual’s health through contamination. Because of the high risk of children being more prone to get an illness through feces, these acquired ailments can take them away from their studies and prevent them from going to school; depriving them of their education. Imagine not having a bathroom at school, well, that’s the harsh reality for 13 million kids in India who drop out because of this. Over 28 million students do not have the ability to go to the restroom, due to the lack of adequate bathrooms.
With quite a few supporters and a lot of exposure for the issue in media, the organization has seen change throughout the years. Specifically, from 2005 to 2006 the percentage of toilets for girls was 37.4%, but in 2011-2012 it increased to 72.16% of toilets available to young girls. Also, the amount of facilities in general went up from 52% in 2005-2006, which is .4 million, to 84% in 2010-2011, or 1.14 million. As for the students, .7 million schools (79%) in 2009-2010 had “at least one toilet facility” from 2005-2006 which only consisted of 49% or .4 million.
The crucial concern with all these new restrooms is whether or not they are properly built and suitable for these children? This also is an issue, the problem of whether or not these bathrooms are suitable for use. Although there has been little change, it’s not enough, since the issue still exists, and many people still do not have access to toilets.
With the peculiar giant turd named Mr. Poo serving as a mascot for the campaign, India expects that it will be able to reach its goals of decreasing public defection by the year 2054. What is happening is a social norm in India, but the issue that plagues the routine of these people is the danger that comes forth due to waste not being properly disposed. Not only is it unpleasant, but it is highly unsanitary, and the rare availability of toilet facilities is itself, a disgusting issue. Toilets have been around in history for a long time, and not to have a safe sewage and toilet system is ridiculous. People in India should have the ability to have such a basic need, and in order to help this cause support is needed, take the pledge or donate to support this cause for the health and well being of those without toilets.