Thursday, May 8, 2014

A "Hands Off" Approach To Open Defecators With iPhones

I'm fascinated by diplomatic euphemisms.  "Open defecators" is the newest one to me, a term referring to "pooping in public," a practice which apparently remains stubbornly common in some parts of the world, and which is a major public health hazard because of the impact on drinking water. I read about it just now in THIS New York Post article, and was intrigued by many of the collateral revelations, including:
1.   "Attempts to improve sanitation among the poorest have long focused on building latrines, but the United Nations says that money literally went down the toilet. Attitudes, not infrastructure, need to change, it said. 'In all honesty the results have been abysmal,' said Rolf Luyendijk, a statistician at the U.N.’s children’s fund UNICEF. 'There are so many latrines that have been abandoned, or were not used, or got used as storage sheds. We may think it’s a good idea but if people are not convinced that it’s a good idea to use a latrine, they have an extra room.'"

2.  "Many countries have made great progress in tackling open defecation, with Vietnam and Bangladesh – where more than one in three people relieved themselves in the open in 1990 – virtually stamping out the practice entirely by 2012."

3.  "The country with the largest number of public defecators is India, which has 600 million. India’s relatively 'hands off' approach has long been at odds with the more successful strategy of neighbouring Bangladesh."

4.   “'What is shocking in India is this picture of someone practising open defecation and in the other hand having a mobile phone,' said Maria Neira, director of Public Health at the WHO."

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