Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh on 2 October 2016 became the first states to declare their urban areas as Open Defecation Free (ODF) on the second anniversary of the Swachh Bharat Mission.
Other states that will soon declare all their urban centres as ODF are Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Mizoram and a few other Northeast states.
The mission launched by PM Narendra Modi, with its urban and rural component handled by the respective ministries, aims to make the country ODF by 2019.
• All 110 cities and towns in Andhra Pradesh were given the ODF tag by Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu at an event in Tirupati.
• Gujarat gave ODF status to each of its 180 cities and towns at a function in Porbandar attended by Union Minister of Drinking Water and Sanitation Narendra Singh Tomar and Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani.
• Gujarat also declared the entire district of Porbandar, the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi, as ODF to commemorate the 147th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi on 2 October 2016.
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 a 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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When: 2 October 2016