Sanitation No Longer a Dirty Word in India
In India, many moons ago, nobody dared talk about toilets – a subject that was taboo, particularly at mealtime.
Those who were employed to clean toilets were treated as “untouchables” and designated “human scavengers”, says Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak, who has been named winner of the 2009 Stockholm Water Prize.
But things have dramatically changed in the world’s second most populous nation (1.1 billion and ranking next to China with 1.3 billion) which still has over 600 million people without access to a toilet.
Pathak, who was the recipient of the U.N.’s Renewable Energy Award last month for developing low-cost toilet technology to produce energy out of human waste, credits his Sanitation Movement with motivating and educating people to change their mindsets towards toilets and scavengers.
In this excerpt, Thalif Deen interviews DR. BINDESHWAR PATHAK, the 2009 Stockholm Water Prize laureate @ IPS News