Flush and forget? India's sanitation crisis

on
7 April 2016
A newly constructed toilet under the Swachh Bharat Mission Tantar Village, Baiga Chak, Dindori, Madhya Pradesh, India. July 2017. WaterAid/Ronny Sen

Every day in India, almost 40 billion litres of sewage are created, with a tiny fraction being adequately treated. Neeraj Jain, CEO of WaterAid India, spoke at TEDxWalledCity to call for action on the country’s sanitation crisis and put its poorest and most marginalised people first.

This morning, you may have read a magazine, looked at your smartphone and caught up with Facebook and Twitter, or just taken time to collect your thoughts, all from the comfort of your toilet. Who knows, you might even be reading this on the toilet.

Then, when you were done, you pressed that magical flush button and felt good. You had done something not necessarily clean, pressed the button and forgot about it.

But did you stop to think what happened to your shit? Where did it go? You might have thought that it just disappeared. But that is not the case.

Every day in India, almost 40 billion litres of sewage are created, with a tiny fraction being adequately treated. As a result, a shocking 70% of surface water is now polluted and not fit for consumption. This is the water that all too often the poorest and most marginalised people have no choice but to drink and use for their daily needs.

We are drowning in our own shit.

Watch the talk:

Neeraj Jain tweets as @neerajwateraid