|National Geographic/ Randy Olson|
But having a whiz on a trash can in an alley is a long way from crapping on Main Street.A few days ago I came upon an odd news item. The United Nations is undertaking an awareness campaign regarding an issue of great public concern in some parts of the world. Not childhood hunger, not child abuse nor basic education. Nope: the issue is public defecation. I imagine that for most of us currently sitting before a computer screen or handheld device reading this, the notion of public defecation isn’t one that we encounter often, if ever. However in India about half the population does not use a toilet regularly. That’s not to say half the subcontinent suffers from chronic constipation, but that while dense traffic congestion may make getting from point A to point B almost impossible in most urban areas, Indian bowels seem to move when and where they want. And just to sharpen that image, bear in mind that half the population of India amounts to about 620 million part-time or full-time public bowel-movers.
For those of us in the West it is hard to get a grip on this phenomenon. I think most of us, yes you ladies too, can relate to the odd occasion when perhaps the line-up for the bathroom at the Frat House party is very long and having just finished off too much cheap beer urinating in an lane-way is a blessed relief. But having a whiz on a trash can in an alley is a long way from crapping on Main Street.