Flush and forget? India's sanitation crisis

Posted 7 Apr 2016 by Neeraj Jain

Every day in India, almost 40 billion litres of sewage are created, with a tiny fraction being adequately treated. Neeraj Jain, CEO of WaterAid India, spoke at TEDxWalledCity to call for action on the country’s sanitation crisis and put its poorest and most marginalised people first.

This morning, you may have read a magazine, looked at your smartphone and caught up with Facebook and Twitter, or just taken time to collect your thoughts, all from the comfort of your toilet. Who knows, you might even be reading this on the toilet.

Then, when you were done, you pressed that magical flush button and felt good. You had done something not necessarily clean, pressed the button and forgot about it.

But did you stop to think what happened to your shit? Where did it go? You might have thought that it just disappeared. But that is not the case.

Every day in India, almost 40 billion litres of sewage are created, with a tiny fraction being adequately treated. As a result, a shocking 70% of surface water is now polluted and not fit for consumption. This is the water that all too often the poorest and most marginalised people have no choice but to drink and use for their daily needs.

We are drowning in our own shit.

Watch the talk:

Neeraj Jain is WaterAid India’s CEO. He tweets as @neerajwateraid.


Add your comment


  • Francis Mujuni said:

    10 Apr 2016 12:17

    This is very unfortunate for the poor people who must drink the shit of the rich who can afford flash toilets! I have always advocated for some of these services we always took for granted in the past to be paid for since finances are required in order to make them available. Surely treatment of sewage requires funds. My proposal is to levy an affordable fee to people who use public toilets or families that own such flush toilets whose content requires treatment. The Local govts that are nearer to the local people should be responsible for the funds and utilize the collected fees to undertake the treatment services. If they are unable let Community based organizations in the area take charge because they are the primary vulnerable people to suffer the consequences of the floods of shit from these flash toilets.

  • Poppy said:

    3 May 2016 22:07

    I think people should be more awear of the dangers of the flush they assume to be helping the country from dirt but not all of the country! I think this is a great charity and I will be raising money for it !!

  • Mahmood Hussain said:

    2 Jun 2016 18:00

    Absolutely Shocking! if Only India stop wasting billions of Pounds each year on Arms and space program, this money can be utilized for the basic needs of its growing population.

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