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I am working in the development sector (water, health, governance sector over 14 years). Last one and half years working in sanitation sector in one rural district in south India, visited nearly 50 Gram Panchayats, more than 200 villages, interacted with more than 2000 households, observed more than 500 toilets. My views on the article and some of my personal observations from the field. 1) SQUAT study is done in North India and generalisation is limited to North Indian rural population only. 2) None of the household members that i interacted in the villages in south India reported that they do not want a toilet. Surely, a household needs a toilet. We have to deliberate on how the household can be helped to get one. Toilet construction effort by government under the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan is in reality a supply driven program and not demand driven as been envisaged in the guidelines. People in the villages were told by Gram Panchayat officials and members “build toilets you will get money”. People construct toilet, get some money and not the total money as per the entitlement under NBA. There is no ownership, built toilets remain unused as they were not constructed as a response to the demand generated by a household. But these toilets were pushed down to meet the targets. 3) Poverty at a household level in the villages is a factor that determines whether the house will construct a toilet or not. A visit to scheduled caste or scheduled tribe localities will give a clear understanding of this. Household decides to spend money on family matters e.g. marriage, social functions than construction of a toilet, defecation is considered a wasteful activity and not a revenue generating activity for a household unlike having a mobile to communicate and get things done. Understanding household sanitation behaviour and toilet construction is a completely different ball game as compared to performing a statistical analysis and findings out relationship between GDP and open defecation rates in poor countries and concluding poverty is not a factor at a macro level. 4) In my experience, availability of water is an important factor that determines toilet construction and mainly usage. I found availability of water as the sole factor determining toilet use. 5) Toilet use is a different issue altogether. In my experience, in households with toilets, i found at least one member of the household (mostly male member) defecate in the open, toilets were mainly used by female members of the family. 6) ‘Latrines near the house as ritually polluting’ is a phenomenon I observed specifically among the older generation. 7) Filling pit is not at all a problem in the district i visited; i think what experience you are sharing is related to poorly constructed toilets in the past. I think any further discussion on increasing toilet coverage and usage should focus more on finding solutions that are context specific and region specific. Rural Indians at least in the district i have visited know the importance of having a toilet but there are genuine reasons for them not building the toilet and using it. In my opinion continuous motivation at least for a few years after construction of a toilet will go a long way in ensuring usage.

Lokesh Gujjarappa, India 15/08/2014 14:56:32

From the biological point of view I prefer 100 billion times the defecation to the free air that the latrines. Why? Since always the man defecated with the free air and it is there today. Then the excrements deposited of Ci from there in nature have a negligible rate of pollution that the aforementioned nature assimilates very well. The situation started to fester when the company was confronted with a problem of public health. Except that the solution was taken contrary to natural process of elimination. The regrouping of the excrements starts two important things: the pollution of the organic matter increases by the strong concentration its rate of toxicity which in fact a nonbiodegradable element by nature; the concentration in isolation starts the irreversible process of transformation of the fecal matter into mud, a not easily assimilable product by nature. it fills the bottom of the stretches of water of surface in the shape of muddy vase. the only report which one can make to date it is that such an advanced technicality is it never replaces a natural process and will continue to transform the organic matter into mud. India produces each day 15,000 tons of excrements of which the three quarters are transformed into mud. Lyseconcept with its invention the process “Pit Biological " lyseconcept does not transform the fecal matter into mud. At exit of the process it was completely eliminated.

jean Marius D'Alexandr, France 03/09/2014 13:35:01

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