Germs are Good – Politicians Take Credit – No Shit

28 November, 2009 at 13:12 3 comments

DNAIndia is redistributing the PTI bit that “Germs Really are Good for Us.” Am not shitting you when it says that a study has revealed that staying too clean can harm the body’s ability to heal itself. Meanwhile, there is this AFP news item by Phil Hazlewood titled, “In Modern India, 600-Million Lack Toilets” came into my purview (hat tip: Asian Correspondent), which essentially says that a majority of Indians (numbers twice the population of USA) lack toilets thereby public defecation and open urination is a way of life both out of necessity and unbridled freedoms. True. This pathetic excuse of a nation is filthy and dirty beyond reason. Can you see a connection? I do. India is full of germs but then, it is good. If you still cannot join the dots, I pity thee but ever the opportunists, the politicians who are responsible for the crap (literally speaking) have not only put 2 and 2 together but are also now taking credit for spreading germs and making ‘aam aadmi’ healthier as per this…

Back to the study (must have been publicly funded paying for several academic gits for quite a few years) published in Nature magazine, the hypothesis developed IMHO is just old wine in a new bottle. One has to just look at much of the 3rd world to see that exposure to germs, bacteria, viruses and just about any snotty nosed cellular organisms are good in the long run to improve disease resistance and overall individual health. Consider poster woman for poverty and corruption, India for example. As people get poorer, their health seems to become more robust. I have never seen a poor guy who is bald to mention something that I suffer from. They just happen to die young and quick (with liver problems in the case of men and malnutrition and neglect in the case of women but let us not get into that). I have not heard any of the maids and drivers ever having a heart attack or inflicted with diabetes or down with cancer or taking sick leaves. Makes you wonder if there is a correlation but that should not be an excuse (as it is made out to be) for shabby living. As the little birdie, in this case, Jairam Ramesh says, “India cities are the dirtiest cities of the world. If there is a Nobel prize for dirt and filth, India will win it, no doubt”, maybe, uncleanliness might still have its benefits and bring pride to a country which after all beat its chest on poverty porn, er, “Slumdog Millionaire”. Onto the second article, here are some statistics and eye watering consolidations…

In slum areas, where more than half of Mumbai lives, an average 81 people share a single toilet. In some places it rises to an eye-watering 273 according to local municipal authority figures. Unsurprisingly, it is still common to see people squatting by roads and railway tracks or along the coast, openly defecating in where some of the world’s richest people live. The UN estimates 55% Indians or 600-million shameless undignified brownies still defecate outside, more than 60 years after the scrupulously clean independence leader Mahatma Gandhi first talked of the responsible disposal of human waste. India has to improve sanitation, to control the spread of diseases like diarrhoea, which UNICEF says kills 1,000 Indian children aged under five every day. Extrapolating it to the the entire 3rd world, the numbers are staggering and beyond belief. Lots of humans still live like animals.

Public toilet provision faces the same problem affecting housing, water and other basic services: supply cannot keep up with demand as India’s population explodes. A UN Human Development Report 2009, published earlier this month, points out that even where public toilets exist, most have no running water, drainage or electricity, making them unhygienic and unusable. Embarrassment means women and girls often wait all day until it is dark to go to the toilet, increasing their chances of infections and exposing them to violence or even snake bites as they seek out remote places. Poor sanitation and the illnesses it causes cost the Indian economy 12-billion rupees (255-million USD) a year, according to health ministry and according to the tourism industry, irrevocably tarnishes the image although some argues that does add charm and allure to India spun as open-air toilets.

Every year over a third of a million Indian kids below five die, all because of a lack of adequate disposal of human waste which is one of the most toxic in developing countries. Sanitation is a public good. The availability of public goods – just like private goods – depends on the supply as well as the demand. It can be argued that the demand for sanitation is low. People are content to just go along with the lack of sanitation. And then there is the problem of supply. Public funds are allocated based on what those who control the public purse consider to be high priority. Providing public toilets is not a priority. If the population valued a clean environment, they would have had it – both through private actions and through their voting for those who spend public money on public sanitation. The public does not demand it and the politicians don’t care to provide it. Perhaps they deserve to be living like this if at all a case has to be made for their existence, nay, mere survival.

    Speaking of septic tanks and poops, some nut over at Acorn argues that “Fixing Drains will Help Counter Terrorism”. Finally, I dont know what makes Isaac Asimov an authority on human dignity, democracy and population growth when he was obsessed with replacing humans with robots but all the same, in conversation wth Bill Moyers (captured in “World of Ideas”, 1989), he says that over-crowding is not conducive to human dignity using a bathroom metaphor. The same way democracy cannot survive over-population, human dignity cannot survive it and convenience and decency cannot survive it. As you put more and more people into the world, the value of life not only declines, it disappears. The more people, less the individuals.

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    Entry filed under: BoP, CWorks, Health, India, Life-Theories, Politics, Poverty, Security, WebXP.

    Different Strokes – Same Situation – Bad Tea Coffee Do You Drink Milk – Kid Home Theatre

    3 Comments Add your own

    • 1. Kate  |  7 November, 2010 at 13:10

      Hello. And Bye.


    • 2. Charlie  |  28 December, 2010 at 13:46


      Thanks for sharing the link – but unfortunately it seems to be down? Does anybody here at have a mirror or another source?



    • 3. Sean Hughes  |  31 December, 2010 at 20:11


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