It’s not surprising which regions have the most indoor plumbing, but it is still surprising how low these percentages are across much of the country. The overwhelming percentage of households in the interior of the country do not have toilets, which has to be an impediment to improving health.
This is consistent with an article I read this morning on the lack of women’s toilets in Delhi and the effect it has on women’s health and safety. The author writes of a recent conversation she heard in a McDonalds in Delhi: “Two ladies were planning their shopping itinerary…[and it]…hit me that the whole expedition was centered on one thing – clean toilets.” This seems rational, given the fact that there are only 5,383 public toilets in Delhi, a city of 17 million people. Of these 5,000+ toilets, only 391 were designated for women. And as the author points out, who knows whether these toilets are even in a usable condition.
The author makes one fascinating comment, writing that “more money has been spent by the government on airing advertisements urging women to marry someone who has a toilet at home than on building toilets in public spaces.” Of all the ways the government could use public money to help citizens, why in the world is it running campaigns to urge women to marry someone with indoor plumbing? Wouldn’t that already be common sense? Do women need to be told this by their government?