People drink a lot of tea in Lucknow. On this World Toilet Day, we focus on the back-end of the sanitation chain, on those who clean out latrines where there is no flush or sewer to carry away the waste. More people die of health problems related to sanitation issues every day than do of malaria, HIV and the top five diseases combined.
Children who have not reached puberty and people over 60 years are not counted… Who can argue with them? The rainwater is muddy and flooded roads have slow traffic. Truck owners paint the name and number of the service in large font and bright colors on the holding tanks and on city walls; the drivers carry business cards; they park at busy intersections where they can easily be seen while waiting for a service call.
They empty out septic tanks and soak pits for homes and businesses. So that is the bottom line.
Lima, PERU. The other end of the hose is attached to a vacuum pump. In this program, families who have and use bednets, build a kitchen away from their home to prevent smoke inhalation, and also have a pit latrine are designated as "model families".
Vietnam turned out to be a success story in terms of the issue but tough in terms of access. The alleys are crowded, with gutters on either side that drain away anything that flows — rainwater, bath water, kitchen waste, human excreta.
In a real sense, 70 years after Indian independence, this is a community still waiting for its freedom.