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India Has Highest Number Of People Without Basic Sanitation: Report

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About 56% of India’s population had no access to basic sanitation needs in 2015, according to a report by WaterAid.

India, the world’s second-largest country by population, has the highest number of people without basic sanitation, according to a report.

The report says despite immense progress through the Swachh Bharat (Clean India) Mission, more than 732 million people still suffer fear and indignity of relieving themselves in the open or in unsafe or unhygienic toilets – a situation that is worse for women and girls.

“In India, a staggering 355 million women and girls are still waiting for a toilet; if they were all to stand in a queue, it would stretch around the Earth more than four times!,” WaterAid’s State of the World’s Toilets 2017 report says.

In 2015, India had the largest number of people without access to basic sanitation needs. But programmes such as the Swachh Bharat Mission are expected to improve its position among top countries that have reduced open defecation and improved access to sanitation, said the report. Though India has made considerable progress in sanitation in the past three years — with around 52 million toilets being built between October 2014 and November 2017 — there was still a long way to go.

The report said globally, one in three people still have no decent toilet facilities, demonstrating how women and girls bear the brunt of this global crisis. “For more than 1.1 billion women and girls, this injustice results in an increased risk of poor health, limited education and harassment,” the report said.

India also ranks in the top ten for reducing open defecation and improving access to basic sanitation,” says the report, titled ‘Out of Order.’

According to the report, after India, China, the world’s most populous country, comes in second, with 343 million people without decent toilets. However, it too has made a lot of progress since 2000, when 40% of the population lacked basic sanitation.

Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria, is in the third place.

According to VK Madhavan, Chief Executive for WaterAid India, India is making rapid progress in improving sanitation under the ongoing Swachh Bharat Mission.

“We need to ensure inclusion, recognising the importance of safe and accessible toilets specific to the needs of the differently-abled, the elderly, the poorest, as well as women and adolescent girls,” it said.

(Business Standard)

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