India reduces open defecation by 31 percent: UN report

GN Bureau | July 1, 2015


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Photo: Arun Kumar

India has ‘moderately’ reduced open defecation by 31 percent since 1990 but succeeded significantly in providing access to improved drinking water to more people in urban and rural areas, says a report by the United Nations.

The report “Progress on Sanitation and Drinking Water: 2015 Update and MDG Assessment” released by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) said in India, 44 percent population (394 million) is defecating in open in 2015 as compared to 75 percent in 1990. There has been significant change in rural areas with the number dropping from 91 percent in 1990 to 61 percent in 2015. In  urban belts of the country open defecation has dropped to 10 percent from 29 percent in 1990.

INTERACTIVE: Swachh Bharat: How is it possible without toilets?

The report also points out that, one in every three (2.4 billion people) across the globe are still without sanitation facilities, including 946 million people who defecate in the open.

The report, however, noted that in India, there has been very little change over the last 20 years in reducing open defecation among the poor.

Census 2011, confirmed that 49.8 percent of Indians defecated in the open.

The report further said that India has “met its target” of increasing use of drinking water resources to its population. From 71 per cent in 1990, India now has 94 per cent of its population with access to drinking water sources. India was among the nine countries that succeeded in halving the proportion of the population without improved drinking water in both rural and urban areas.
 

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