India’s latest census data was released last week and the findings are startling. India’s population grew by 181 million people over the last decade reaching 1.2 billion people and according to NPR India’s population is likely to surpass China’s by 2030.
What is even more startling in India’s new census is that 53% of all Indians own cellphones and yet 53% of Indians don’t have toilets. I have written before that I am a huge proponent of people having access to water and sanitation. I know everything is not easily translatable across cultures, but properly disposing of one’s human waste in a toilet has to be. Why? When people openly defecate it causes disease. According to our partner Water.org, the lack of sanitation is the world’s leading cause of infection.
Of course, access to cellphones is much more attainable than building toilets for roughly 500 million people in India. I have to think there are measurable projects in place to give more people access to latrines. I am not sure if providing access to toilets in Indian is solely a national project that the government should undertake or if it’s a project for NGOs working with the private sector. It may be an intersection of all three of these to make it work.
I just hope in the next decade there are only 250 million Indians who don’t have access to toilets. It would still be a large number of India’s population, but we would definitely see measurable change for good.