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Don't take toilets for granted. Their connection to a managed sewage disposal system protects you from diseases and infections that can stunt your growth, harm your nutrition and even kill you.
For some 670 million people, this basic service is not provided. In rapidly growing cities in low and middle income countries, expensive serviced residential areas stand alongside makeshift settlements, whose poorer residents lack access to sanitation and suffer from preventable diseases and infections. In India, for instance, more than seven children per 10,000 residents die from diarrhea resulting from lack of sanitation.
Governments - Drives - Cities - Cities - Fixes
To address this, some governments have announced national drives to clean up their cities. But many cities are resorting to quick fixes that are polluting water sources and leaving countless urban communities by the wayside.
Take India. In 2014, its government announced a highly publicized mission to "Clean India". Under this mission, the government surveys and ranks cities according to their cleanliness, and hands prestigious awards to those ranking highest. The mission's main aim was to rid the country of open defecation, makeshift toilets and open sewers by October 2019.
Music - Ears - Residents - Siddharth - Nagar
This was music to the ears of residents of Siddharth Nagar, an informal settlement in Mumbai. Its 650 migrant families live in self-built shelters without access to functioning toilets.
For many years, they had to resort to open defecation – that is, going to the "toilet" outside in the open environment rather than using dedicated and safely managed facilities. Open defecation is not considered safe because it exposes people to contact with faeces and, in the case of more vulnerable populations, potential attackers.
Residents - Resources - Construct - Makeshift - Toilets
Eventually, residents were able to pool their resources and construct six makeshift toilets for the community. The waste from the toilets was directed straight into an adjacent stream, which took it to the sea. In many cases, water from streams...
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