CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu is far ahead of other states in having more community toilets according to the Swachhta Status Report 2016. Over 72% of villages in the state have community toilets while the national average is a meager 13%.
The recently released report by the National Sample Survey Organization, places Tamil Nadu in the first position among 25 other states enumerated in the survey.
Conducted during May-June 2015, it covered all the states and union territories, except Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura.
The survey also found that as much as 66% of wards (Urban area) in Tamil Nadu had community/public toilets, which again is much higher than the All India average of 42%. Only five states are ranked above Tamil Nadu in this aspect.
However, despite the achievement, the percentage of urban households contributing to open defecation in TN stood at 10.7%, considerably higher than the national average of 8.9%.
Commenting on the survey findings, environmentalists and urban experts say open defecation is still rampant in urban sprawls like Chennai, which houses several slums within its limits.
They substantiate their claim by citing the sad state of rivers and waterways in the city, including the Couum. Incidentally, only four cities from Tamil Nadu are ranked among the top 73 clean cities in the country, in another recent survey conducted by the Ministry of Urban Development.
Further, Satyarupa Sekhar, Director of Government Outreach and Advisory Team, Citizen Consumer and Civic Action Group, points out that the term ‘community toilet’ could not be used interchangeably with ‘public toilet’.
“There are no community toilets in Chennai, for what is put up by civic authorities are only public toilets. For some reason, they are being called community toilets. A community toilet unlike the public one has more comprehensive sanitary facilities with elements of personal hygiene available in them,” she says.