My friend, who works for the Water & Sanitation Program at the World Bank, passed along a short animated film they just produced on sanitation issues [read: poop] in Pakistan. Aside from my joking title, [a throwback to the fantastic children’s book, Everyone Poops] sanitation issues are a very serious problem in the developing world, particularly in rural and slum areas. According to statistics released by the Joint Monitoring Program, 90% of Pakistan’s urban population use improved sanitation [i.e., a toilet or a pit latrine], while 4% use shared [a toilet in a community that’s shared]. Only 6% defecate in the open. In contrast, only 40% of the country’s rural population use improved sanitation, 5% use shared, and 10% use unimproved sanitation [i.e., a hole in the ground]. This means that 45% of Pakistan’s rural population defecate [poop] in the open.
The film below explains exactly why this issue is so important, particularly from a public health perspective. Open defecation free, a term used in the cartoon, refers to when 100% of a community/village/town do not use the bathroom outside, [the most ideal scenario is to use improved sanitation methods, but the basic standard is not defecating outside]. However, as an article about sanitation in a small town in Pakistan also noted, becoming open defecation free requires more than just building toilets – raising awareness is also key. As the animated film below shows, change can occur when communities are empowered to become involved in the process. That way, change is more permanent than transient, and sanitation issues are properly addressed in the long run.