Children demand loos on World Toilet Day

Wednesday, 20 November 2013 – 8:41am IST | Agency: IANS

Sushil Yadav lives in a south Delhi's rented flat which has one toilet shared by women and elders of eight families while men defecate in the open.

On World Toilet Day Tuesday, Sushil, 11, demanded loo accessibility to all.

He was among several children who spoke about problems related to open defecation at an event organised by the Unicef.

"I wish all households in the country have toilets and I appeal to the government to do something about it," he said.

The event also saw presentation of Unicef's digital campaign 'Take Poo to Loo', that calls to put an end to the practice in India, where over 620 million people defecate in open.

"Access to toilets remains the unmentionable, shameful secret for even some very prosperous countries. Lack of access to toilets is quite literally killing children, making adults sick, and slowing progress," said Sanjay Wijesekera, the global head of Unicef WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) programme.

Through interactive social media components like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube on-ground activations across New Delhi, Pune, Hyderabad and Mumbai, the campaign aims to promote young participation and create active advocates who can speak out against open defecation.

Crafted in quirky language, it has different tools such as games, mobile applications and ringtones.

The campaign protagonist – Poo – will be visiting public places, colleges, schools and other places in the four cities during the three-month-long campaign.

India has made tremendous progress in the provision and use of toilets in the last 20 years, reducing the practice of open defecation from 75 percent of the population in 1990, to 51 percent in 2010.

Each year, nearly 20 million people start using toilets. However, India is still home to the world's largest population of people who defecate in the open.