BY NEELAM CHAUDHARY
Numerous public toilets were constructed in villages. But the condition of these public toilets remains nasty.
Many years back, women in villages used to go into the field for defecation. The problem was lack of resources and awareness in smaller villages. We have all seen the movie ‘Toilet’ . The battle of one man against society to set up one toilet for his wife. The films revolves around the religious and cultural blockers in society. While women are supposed to be the honor of the house, they are still subjected to walking miles every morning to relieve themselves. Many on the way to relieve themselves fall prey to men. Not to mention, open defecation causes various reproductive health issues and diseases.
The Government Steps In !
Thankfully, the Indian government realized the urgent need of toilets in villages. The fight was won we all believed it ! Within just a few months the government, took on the herculean task of allotting each village with their own toilet only for the women. They understood perils of open defecation women have to face and sought to relieve them, quite literally !
However, the Swachh Bharat movement only lead to a lack of sanitation. The government sure did not quantify this aspect. In present times the condition of the public toilets is very bad. The ones set up by the government turned out to be dirty, unhealthy and unhygienic. But is it the government to blame? I mean they only wanted to help !
But now, women have to think twice before using these public toilets. Because they have to fear contracting urinary tract diseases (also covid-19). Holding the urine for a long time may lead to bladder and kidney infection. Poor sanitation also causes transmission of other diseases like diarrhoea, cholera, hepatitis A and typhoid.
However, the reason for this is the lack of understanding of maintenance. While, the government did set up public toilets, they forgot to work out the cleaning part of the grand scheme. This leaves an already over burdened women to come out and clean another zone apart from her own chores to enjoy its benefits.
Bad enough, the women in villages are tasked with the work of the home and fields as well. The public toilets just became another responsibility. None of them had the time, will or strength left to cater too. So that marked the end of the movement.
Women returned back to visiting the field to relieve themselves. Atleast, it ends up being manure. But starkness aside, let’s take a moment to highlight the issues of women having to clean these toilets by themselves. How disgusting is this??
It’s a very serious issue, we can’t take this lightly any more.
It was found in a survey that 55% of public toilets were unusable. Government is not providing proper hygiene and water supply facilities. Government should take the matter seriously. Regular maintenance and periodic cleaning is required for these public toilets. It is important for women’s proper hygiene and health.
WOMEN SHOULD NOT HAVE TO CLEAN UP THIS MESS !