Sixty-six per cent of the women in Delhi slums are verbally abused, 46 per cent are stalked and more than 30 per cent are physically assaulted while accessing toilets

Over 50 million people in urban India defecate in the open every day. Sixty-six per cent of the women in Delhi slums are verbally abused, 46 per cent are stalked and more than 30 per cent are physically assaulted while accessing toilets.

Eighty per cent of India’s surface water pollution is on account of sewage alone.

As many as 4,861 of 5,161 cities across the country do not have even a partial sewerage network.

These findings are from a new survey conducted across the country by Dasra, a strategic philanthropy foundation. With services related to sanitation and hygiene for the poor almost missing, the foundations says organisations involved in philanthropic work should now focus on these areas.

Armed with the survey results, Dasra is scouting around for donors to pitch in with the monies to provide the poor and the marginalised access to sanitation and hygiene.

“Traditionally, philanthropy has focussed on areas like education and health care, but with a sizeable number of people having little or no access to water and sanitation, there is a need for the philanthropic organisations and the corporates to ensure this gap is overcome,” says Neera Nundy, founder and partner of Dasra.

The survey, which began in April this year in collaboration with Forbes Marshall, shows there is an adverse impact of poor sanitation and hygiene on various aspects including the environment, economics, education and gender.

To buttress this claim, the survey reveals that poor urban households pay 65 per cent more than the average urban household and 75 per cent more than a rural household for sanitation facilities. Explaining the impact on education, it cites the high dropout rate of girls. “Almost 23 per cent of girls drop out of school when they start menstruating. In some places, nearly 66 per cent of girls skip school during menstruation and one-third of them eventually drop out. Also, 40 per cent of schools lack functional toilets,” the survey reveals.

Over 70 per cent of the households in the analysed cities, the survey found, have no access to toilets or a sewerage system. “Some places such as Surender Nagar receive water supply for only 30 minutes once a week,” it points out.

The survey claims nearly 60 per cent of the slums in Delhi do not have sewerage facilities. Proximity of slum communities to un-disposed sewerage and resultant polluted water has serious ramifications on their health.

The survey was conducted in 15 cities -- Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, Pune, Ahmedabad, Trichy, Patna, Bhopal, Bhubaneshwar, Lucknow, Gwalior, Chennai, Hyderabad and Madurai along with a few smaller districts.

More In: Delhi