As much as Pakistan and India hate each other, the people of the two nations have similar opinions, social norms, culture, and unfortunately similar problems. One of the most basic yet the most unaddressed issue among these is the problem of open defecation due to lack of public toilets in both countries.
As Akshay Kumar’s starrer ‘Toilet: Ek Prem Katha’ is set to release prior to India’s 70 th independence, we bring you the reasons why we need to break the taboo and talk about this issue in particular in our country as well.
Pakistan has some staggering statistics when it comes to the absence of toilets in the country and the case of defecating in public. About 43 million Pakistanis still defecate in the open, making us the 3rd largest country behind India and Indonesia. Although there has been work done on this front by UNICEF and other, but a lack of operations and poor maintenance could not make these projects run in the longer run.
Lack of Education
Unfortunately, education plays an important part in maintaining and achieving proper sanitation. Despite several efforts of providing people with toilets in Pakistan, the people have failed to utilize the bathrooms as they didn’t have the knowledge to maintain these. Moreover, people in the rural areas are resistant to changing their lifestyle. In this case, media can play a vital role as Television and Radio have proven to be influential in making these people opt for changing lifestyles. A drama, movie or theatre would be the best way to touch upon the topic – like Akshay has done in his movie by building the issue around the love story.
Having toilet is a big source of empowering women and girls. The absence of toilets in schools in rural areas is a concern among girls as they need to talk long distances otherwise and could be more vulnerable to attacks. We can increase the chances of girls going to school if we can ensure girls’ safety by providing bathrooms within the premises.
Media plays an important part in advocacy. When it comes to people defecating in the open, they are still unaware of the health risks associated with it. It has become a major contributor in stunting growth among children. The number of waterborne diseases are high in Pakistan like diarrhea and measles. A healthy nation is a progressive nation and if we want to progress ahead, we need to ensure the best health for all citizens in Pakistan.
We need to break the taboo around the word ‘toilet’, emphasized UN Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson. It is high time we address the issue of open defecation and the absence of toilets in our country.
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