World Bank President promises to help India in cleaning the River Ganges

Environment

Source: IBN Live news

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim promised to help India in cleaning up the River Ganges. The remarks came after Kim met Prime Minister Modi yesterday and also discussed a host of issues. Kim has said that they will send their best team to India to work on the project.

Here is an excerpt from the interview:

ganga

CNBC-TV18: In terms of governments agreement to clean up the Ganga and there is an agreement with the World Bank which was in with the previous government, to actually take the project forward. It is a billion dollar agreement that the world bank has with the government. How confident do you feel about achieving the objective given the fact that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has put his weight behind the Ganga clean-up operation? Jim Yong Kim: You know the clean-up of the Ganga is important is so many ways. I actually went through the Ganga in Kanpur. We saw literally raw sewage being dumped into the Ganga and we also know that spirtually for the people the Ganga is so important. So very very top priority for us and we understand for the government as well, this is a hard project. It’s a huge project, but we have had great success in other areas where we have tackled problems of this size. Again if Prime Minister Modi wants this to be a top thing to work on together, then that’s what we will do. It is hard. We happen to have some of the the best water specialists in the world. We will bring our A+ team here and will do everything we can to help.

Hindustan Times (Analysis): To stop open defecation go the Pulse Polio way

Source: Diane Coffey & Dean Spears, Hindustan Times

Open defecation is killing children, stunting growth, and holding India back from a more developed future.

In March, India was declared polio-free. There is now an even greater scourge that India must battle: Open defecation. It kills more infants each year than those who became sick with polio each year in the 1980s, when polio was much more common. If open defecation is so much worse than polio, why have we not yet had a campaign to address the problem? This is because our leaders mistakenly think that open defecation is a problem of infrastructure — one that can be solved by building toilets.

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NPR: How A Lack Of Toilets Puts India’s Women At Risk Of Assault

Women shout slogans during a protest against the gang rape and hanging of two teenage girls. Beyond highlighting the rampant sexual violence in India, the crimes are drawing attention to a glaring and fundamental problem across the country that threatens women's safety: the lack of toilets. Altaf Qadri/AP

Women shout slogans during a protest against the gang rape and hanging of two teenage girls. Beyond highlighting the rampant sexual violence in India, the crimes are drawing attention to a glaring and fundamental problem across the country that threatens women’s safety: the lack of toilets. Altaf Qadri/AP

Source: Julie McCarthy, NPR Radio

Listen to the radio story on NPR

A young girl sweeps fallen debris from a tempest that blew through her village of Katra Sahadatganj one recent evening. This remote spot in Uttar Pradesh — India’s largest state — has become the center of another gathering storm.

It was here two weeks ago where two young girls were audaciously attacked: raped and hanged from a tree. Inter-caste violence and patriarchal attitudes combined to make a chilling spectacle in this impoverished place of mud-caked children and hand-pumped water.

“ It’s a question of belief in human dignity, which somewhere along the line we seem to have lost. - Gouri Choudhury, Action India

But the deaths conceivably could have been averted if the girls had had access to a toilet at home. Lacking one, on the night they were killed, the two teens did what hundreds of millions of women do across India each day: Under the cloak of darkness before sunrise or after sunset, they set out for an open field to relieve themselves. Continue reading

arstechnica: Open defecation solves the child mortality puzzle among Indian Muslims

By Akshat Rathi. Originally published on arstechnica and Scroll

Child mortality is lower among Muslims despite being poorer and less educated

Meena Kadri

Meena Kadri

In India, Hindus are, on average, richer and more educated than Muslims. But oddly, Hindus’ child mortality rate is much higher. All observable factors say Hindus should fare better, but they don’t. Economists refer to this as the Muslim mortality puzzle.

In a new study, researchers believe that they may have found a solution to the puzzle. And, surprisingly, the solution lies in a single factor referred to as “a particular sanitation externality”—open defecation. Continue reading

BBC: Why India’s sanitation crisis kills women

Source: Soutik Biswas, BBC
This May 12, 2006 file photograph shows a slum resident (L) as he uses a toilet that opens into the water below as children swim in the water near a protest rally against the government for demolishing make-shift huts at Mandala in Mankhurd in north central Mumbai.
Nearly half-a-billion Indians lack access to basic sanitation

The gruesome rape and hanging of two teenage girls in the populous Uttar Pradesh state again proves how women have become the biggest victims of India’s sanitation crisis.
The two girls were going to the fields to defecate when they went missing on Tuesday night.

Nearly half-a-billion Indians – or 48% of the population – lack access to basic sanitation and defecate in the open. Continue reading