Any country that hosts the World Toilet Summit deserves respect:
The Indian government has vowed to eradicate the all-too-common phenomenon of open-air defecation by building environmentally friendly lavatories for hundreds of millions of its poorest citizens.
The Rural Development minister, Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, claimed that within five years, the government will have built sufficient facilities for everyone – many years ahead of an international deadline.
He revealed that the government would spend around £125m on rural sanitation projects this year, a increase of 43 per cent on last year. He said: “By 2012, India will be free of defecation in the open and will meet international commitments in this regard.”
The minister’s pledge was delivered at the 4th World Toilet Summit in New Delhi which has brought together experts from more than 40 countries to discuss ways of providing affordable sanitation for the world’s poorest people. The conference is largely the result of campaigning by Bindeshwar Pathak, the founder of a charity that provides public lavatories.
Such issues are usually invisible in the mainstream media. Much easier to write a story about a pop star whose fortune is grossly displayed on a daily basis. Or an airhead who wants to travel to Africa, with a camera crew in tow, of course, to “educate” her fans.