The Big Taboo – Toilet Talk

As a nurse, toilet talk has never been a taboo for me, but evidently it is for the rest of the world. I was reading Foreign Policy Magazine’s blog (which is great reading, btw), and learned that it is such a big taboo that millions are dying every year because they don’t have access to basic sanitation. For example, in Mumbai’s biggest slum there is only one toilet per 1,440 people. This is astonishing. This is the 21st century, for crying out loud.

An excerpt from the post:

“…a new report from the U.N. drives home the effects of 2.6 billion people around the world lacking access to a decent bathroom. More than two million children die each year of illnesses caused by contaminated water.

The problem, according to the author of the report, is that bureaucrats and politicians often don’t want to talk about toilets. Such topics are often just taboo. He told the NYT that “issues dealing with human excrement tend not to figure prominently…[on] the agendas of governments.” So, despite U.N. estimates that it would cost $10 billion a year (think about that in terms of most countries’ military expenditures) to cut in half the percentage of people needing clean water and a latrine, little at the government level is ever accomplished.”


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