Himachal Pradesh becomes India’s second open defecation free state

Nov 1, 2016 11:59 IST

Himachal Pradesh on 28 October 2016 was declared India’s second Open Defecation Free (ODF) State. The first state to achieve the feat was Sikkim.

Himachal Pradesh successfully achieved total rural sanitation coverage of 100 per cent in the state, with all 12 districts in the state being both, declared as well as verified as ODF.

The state is also the first among bigger Indian states to become ODF under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Swachch Bharat Abhiyan.

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What is open defecation?

Open defecation is the practice of people defecating outside and not into a designated toilet.

The term is widely used in literature about water, sanitation, and hygiene issues in developing countries.

Open defecation causes public health problems in areas where people defecate in fields, urban parks, rivers, and open trenches in close proximity to the living space of others.

High levels of open defecation in a country are usually correlated with high child mortality, as well as high levels of undernutrition, high levels of poverty, and large disparities between rich and poor.

About one billion people around the globe practice open defecation.

India has the highest number of people practicing open defecation (around 190 million people).

The other countries with the highest number of people openly defecating are Indonesia (54 million), followed by Pakistan (41 million), Nigeria (39 million), Ethiopia (34 million), and Sudan (17 million).

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