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16 August 2011

The Insanity of Sanitation

by Scott N. Loveall

_53369087_sanitationI was prompted to write this poetry and this post due to a documentary I watched on Current-TV called The World's Toilet Crisis on the series Vanguard. It is not very glamorous, artistic, flowery, or full of color and nice.

Per the producer Lisa Biagiotti:

"It’s a documentary for all of us who use toilets and take them for granted!

But let’s not forget the 2.6 billion of us - 40% of the world’s population - who don’t use toilets and defecate anywhere we can - in streets, open fields, river banks and, most dangerously, in the very water we drink. As a result of open defecation, more than 2 million people - including 1.5 million children - die from complications of chronic diarrhea every year.

There’s no shortage of attention to the water crisis, but to be blunt, the real reason the water’s dirty is because there’s shit in the water."

Here's the trailer - it is not for the faint of heart:

Guinea4The Insanity of Sanitation

Where is the squalid in art?
Where is the tepid, the thrice watered light,
the colors that have no empathy,
no merit?

Where is the dishwater,
the bland and hovel brown?
Where is the shit in the rivers,
the rinse of lives beaten against the river rocks?

Where are the flies, the bite red welts?
Where are the bones in the graves,
the hunger, the stunned eyes
from your brother's betrayal?

Somalia, India, Kenya, Suriname,
life after life lost,
left in suggestions of in-sanitation,
left in the swill of their "so sorry!" lot.

Do it!
Display to the walls what it is!
Let your colors drip from their tear streaked eyes.

© SNL, 2011

Per the BBC in 2007:

A summit in Delhi has highlighted statistics compiled by WaterAid in India which show that just 15% of rural people have access to a toilet.

In India alone, more than 700 million people have no access to toilets with proper waste disposal systems. Because open defecation is widely practiced in India, WaterAid along with government agencies and other NGOs are embarking on a comprehensive latrine building programme.

Per WaterAid International:

Pakistan - It is estimated that by 2015, over half of the population of Pakistan will live in urban areas, putting extreme strain on water provisions. Sanitation coverage in Pakistan is only 58% and around 40% of the population don't have access to safe water.

India - For every 1,000 children, 68 die before their fifth birthday, mainly from preventable diseases such as diarrhoea. In order to meet the Millennium Development Goal of halving the number of people without sanitation, access will need to be provided for 21 million people every year.

Ghana - 80% of all diseases in Ghana are caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation. More than nine million people don't have access to safe drinking water. Only around 13% of the population have access to adequate sanitation facilities.

Bolivia's water sector in also in crisis.


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