Skip to main content

Total sanitation: UNICEF-WHO report indicts India, says poorest sections have seen "very little" improvement

By Our Representative
In a major indictment of India’s effort to achieve total sanitation, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have said in a report that in a report that the country has failed to fight open defecation among its poorest sections of people (click HERE for chart). Pointing out that the “progress among the poorest has been slower” in the entire southern Asian region, the report underlines, “In India there has been very little change over the last 20 years.”
The countries that form part of the southern Asian region, according the UNICEF-WHO report, are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Iran, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. At the same time, the report says, “All countries achieved significant reductions amongst the richest, and three countries succeeded in eliminating open defecation among this group.” It adds, “Bangladesh is the only country in the region where progress has been faster among the poorest and the gap has been reduced.”
The 90-page report, titled “Progress on Drinking Water and Sanitation – 2015 update and MDG”, the result of WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation (JMP), which began in 1990. In 2000, the member states of the United Nations signed the Millennium Declaration, which later gave rise to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). One of the MDGs was the target challenging the global community to halve, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.
Even as noting that in the Southern Asia region, where the number of open defecators is highest, has made “significant improvements”, “Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan have all achieved reductions of more than 30 percentage points since 1990”, there India’s “31 per cent reduction in open defecation in represents 394 million people”, significantly influencing “regional and global estimates”, the report notes, “Despite significant progress, much still remains to be done.”
In fact, the report’s data show, India’s 31 per cent reduction in open defecation from 75 per cent in 1990 to 44 in 2015 stands out in sharp contrast to Pakistan, which reduced it from 49 to 13 per cent; Bangladesh, which reduced it from 34 per cent to 1 per cent; and Nepal, which reduced it from 88 to 32 per cent; Sri Lanka, which reduced it from 13 per cent to 0 per cent. In China, open defecation was just 7 per cent in 1990, which went down to 1 per cent in 2015.
The report says that India’s progress towards MDG target – of achieving 50 per cent improvement in sanitation by 2015 – has been “moderate”. In fact, it calculates, between 1990 and 2015, India was able to improve sanitation facilities only by 28 per cent, compared to Pakistan 50 per cent, Nepal 43 per cent, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka 38 per cent, and China 37 per cent. Thus, while Pakistan, Sri Lanka and China have already “met target”, the report says, Bangladesh and Nepal have made “good progress”.
Even as quantifying progress of all countries in the world towards achieving total sanitation goals, the report does not, however, give any explanation why the progress in some countries has been “poor”, “moderate” while in others it is “good.” Nor is there any explanation as to why the poorest sections, for instance, in India, have seen very little progress in achieving sanitation goals.

Comments

TRENDING

Vaccine nationalism? Covaxin isn't safe either, perhaps it's worse: Experts

By Rajiv Shah  I was a little awestruck: The news had already spread that Astrazeneca – whose Indian variant Covishield was delivered to nearly 80% of Indian vaccine recipients during the Covid-19 era – has been withdrawn by the manufacturers following the admission by its UK pharma giant that its Covid-19 vector-based vaccine in “rare” instances cause TTS, or “thrombocytopenia thrombosis syndrome”, which lead to the blood to clump and form clots. The vaccine reportedly led to at least 81 deaths in the UK.

'Scientifically flawed': 22 examples of the failure of vaccine passports

By Vratesh Srivastava*   Vaccine passports were introduced in late 2021 in a number of places across the world, with the primary objective of curtailing community spread and inducing "vaccine hesitant" people to get vaccinated, ostensibly to ensure herd immunity. The case for vaccine passports was scientifically flawed and ethically questionable.

'Misleading' ads: Are our celebrities and public figures acting responsibly?

By Deepika* It is imperative for celebrities and public figures to act responsibly while endorsing a consumer product, the Supreme Court said as it recently clamped down on misleading advertisements.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Magnetic, stunning, Protima Bedi 'exposed' malice of sexual repression in society

By Harsh Thakor*  Protima Bedi was born to a baniya businessman and a Bengali mother as Protima Gupta in Delhi in 1949. Her father was a small-time trader, who was thrown out of his family for marrying a dark Bengali women. The theme of her early life was to rebel against traditional bondage. It was extraordinary how Protima underwent a metamorphosis from a conventional convent-educated girl into a freak. On October 12th was her 75th birthday; earlier this year, on August 18th it was her 25th death anniversary.

Palm oil industry deceptively using geenwashing to market products

By Athena*  Corporate hypocrisy is a masterclass in manipulation that mostly remains undetected by consumers and citizens. Companies often boast about their environmental and social responsibilities. Yet their actions betray these promises, creating a chasm between their public image and the grim on-the-ground reality. This duplicity and severely erodes public trust and undermines the strong foundations of our society.

'Fake encounter': 12 Adivasis killed being dubbed Maoists, says FACAM

Counterview Desk   The civil rights network* Forum Against Corporatization and Militarization (FACAM), even as condemn what it has called "fake encounter" of 12 Adivasi villagers in Gangaloor, has taken strong exception to they being presented by the authorities as Maoists.

Mired in controversy, India's polio jab programme 'led to suffering, misery'

By Vratesh Srivastava*  Following the 1988 World Health Assembly declaration to eradicate polio by the year 2000, to which India was a signatory, India ran intensive pulse polio immunization campaigns since 1995. After 19 years, in 2014, polio was declared officially eradicated in India. India was formally acknowledged by WHO as being free of polio.

No compensation to family, reluctance to file FIR: Manual scavengers' death

By Arun Khote, Sanjeev Kumar*  Recently, there have been four instances of horrifying deaths of sewer/septic tank workers in Uttar Pradesh. On 2 May, 2024, Shobran Yadav, 56, and his son Sushil Yadav, 28, died from suffocation while cleaning a sewer line in Lucknow’s Wazirganj area. In another incident on 3 May 2024, two workers Nooni Mandal, 36 and Kokan Mandal aka Tapan Mandal, 40 were killed while cleaning the septic tank in a house in Noida, Sector 26. The two workers were residents of Malda district of West Bengal and lived in the slum area of Noida Sector 9. 

India 'not keen' on legally binding global treaty to reduce plastic production

By Rajiv Shah  Even as offering lip-service to the United Nations Environment Agency (UNEA) for the need to curb plastic production, the Government of India appears reluctant in reducing the production of plastic. A senior participant at the UNEP’s fourth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-4), which took place in Ottawa in April last week, told a plastics pollution seminar that India, along with China and Russia, did not want any legally binding agreement for curbing plastic pollution.