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Our response to The Hindu's recent editorial on sanitation

Blog Post1 min read

Check out our response to The Hindu's editorial on India's sanitation problem.

We were glad to see an editorial highlighting the real and enormous consequences of exceptionally widespread open defecation in India. We could not agree more that India urgently needs its citizens, activists, scholars, journalists, and policy-makers everywhere to turn their attention and their efforts to this problem. However, we believe that their analysis underestimates the problem.

We recently spoke with a retired public servant who built a latrine about a year ago that is used by only three of the thirteen people in his family. He told us that “if a man wants to stay healthy, then he should [defecate] outside,” and that in his village “you’ll find a latrine in everyone’s house, but I don’t want to go in one…I think going in latrines is disgusting.”

This man's beliefs were far from unique. Many of the people that we spoke with in rural Haryana felt similarly. Read our response for more of our initial findings from the field.


r.i.c.e. is a non-profit research organization focused on health and well-being in India. Our core focus is on children in rural north India. Our research studies health care at the start of life, sanitation, air pollution, maternal health, social inequality, and other dimensions of population-level social wellbeing.

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