Taking the poo to the loo in India
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Taking the poo to the loo in India


In an attempt to eliminate open defecation health officers at the Ahmedabad Municipal Council are now paying children 1 rupee each or giving them chocolates to use public toilets.

The idea behind the move is to improve public hygiene and stop people defacating in the open where flies can spread disease and diarrhoea kills 200,000 children every year.

Chairman of the Gujurat Sanitation Development Organisation, Anil Prajapati, told the BBC they had started paying children because people were still not using the many public toilets in the city, even when many were free.

Some of these people fear that there are witches inside or that their children will be kidnapped.

These people have come from small villages, and so they are not used to the practice.

There are 320 public toilets in Ahmedabad and 143 are free.

The council hopes the payment offered to use the toilets will start to reshape attitudes about use of toilets.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants every home to have a toilet by 2019 and prioritised eliminating open defecation. So far not all sanitation campaigns have worked.

By August 2015 this year, all schools were supposed to have separate toilets for boys and girls, the idea being that a lack of facilities for girls was keeping them away from school, but as NDTV reported, many schools scrambled to do this and some still had no water supply.

On paper at least, the progress of the toilet project seems very good. According to statistics released by the government, 98 percent of the four lakh toilets that were to be constructed across the country in in the last one year have been completed. States that have not completed all toilets are Bihar, Chattisgarh and Odisha.

This Indian Express article outlines some of the challenges of the toilets in schools scheme.

UNICEF India posted a “Take the poo to the loo” song in 2014 about the smells and hygiene associated with open defecation.