If You Want A Passport, Get A Toilet First

Authorities in the rural midwestern district of Surkhet, Nepal have come up with a brilliant idea to improve sanitation in the area – they are asking everyone who applies for a citizenship card or a passport whether they have a toilet at home…If they don’t, they are lectured on the health risks that may arise from open defecation and then given the citizenship card/passport…

Creating awareness is a good thing and must be done but if money is not given to these people to build toilets, how is the scheme going to help Nepal fight disease outbreaks?

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21 thoughts on “If You Want A Passport, Get A Toilet First

  1. People do not prefer not to have toilets – they just do not have the means for it! It is indeed funny that the govt of Nepal thinks that advise is enough! As you say ‘Creating awareness is a good thing and must be done but if money is not given to these people to build toilets, how is the scheme going to help Nepal fight disease outbreaks?’. Absolutely!

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  2. Actually, defecating in the open in the open countryside has no health risk at all! Everyone one is compelled to go for a long walk which provides necessary exercise. Plus what is better than clean fresh early morning air? In the cities of course, since there is no open space, it is a health hazard as well as a visual pain, particularly if you are travelling in a train and happen to get up at the wrong time.

    On a lighter note, in the villages, this early morning “walk” helps many romances bloom too!

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    • Vinod Sharmaji, Sorry but I have to disagree. Defecation in open has health risk even in countryside. Usually defecation is done near a water source like a pond or a stream so that that water can be used for cleaning. This result in high chance of feco oral transmission of pathogenic micro organisms .

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  3. Nice idea! Maybe they should give applicants a long list of points- not just one- that should be complied with, if they want a passport.

    BTW- What is a citizenship card- something like Nandan Nilekani’s unique identification card?

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  4. The article says that the govt has promised to eradicate open defecation by 2017. Which means that they just might be having some plans. Either building public toilets in needy neighbourhoods or something. Not insist on every house having one, which might not be financially possible. I will read up some more on this. I`m sure they have some plan of how to go about it. I`m infact pleasantly surprised that they`ve atleast taken the initiative.

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  5. It is a good idea.Scientific explainations in some comments are good reasoning.
    In India we have different problems.We can say what we like,but we need not only resources but HONESTY OF PURPOSE.Which neta will allow us to get away without his cut out of toilet funds?

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  6. D/Indyeah: The obvious reason would be to travel to other countries for work, like Dubai/Bangladesh/even New York,USA/China etc. There`s a huge percentage of people entering these countries(USA is more difficult than most) without proper work permit and then settling down as laborers or other classes of workers illegally. They do it for money of course.

    Bones: check this out. The govt plans to do something after all! 🙂
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20090723/od_afp/healthenvironmentnepaltoiletsoffbeat_20090723155834

    Just a cursory research. Have hardly got any time to read anymore. BUt I`ll be back with more info on this 🙂

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  7. Sraboney no harm in creating awareness and a wish and a will to have a facility. It is possible that many people are so comfortable with the present open air defecation system that they might consider building toilets an unnecessary expense and hassle.

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