• Levels of poverty and pollution shocking for wealthy nation.
By Victor Thorn —
Forget about Beijing as the world’s most polluted city. Delhi, along with the entire country of India, takes the cake as Planet Earth’s most deplorable cesspool. In a February 18 article, CNN’s Charles Riley compared Delhi to “living in a gas chamber.”
Delhi’s 20 million residents aren’t the only ones enduring a hellish existence, as 13 of the world’s top 20 most-polluted cities are found in India.
For a country with a gross domestic product of nearly $2 trillion annually—the UK’s is $2.7 trillion—India’s extreme poverty and pollution is shocking.
It is estimated that 35% of all Indian adults are illiterate, and one in six families live in abject poverty that’s been described as being unfit for human habitation.
Half of Indian youths drop out of school before reaching their teenage years, and one-third of India’s citizens live on $1.25 per day.
A trip around many Indian cities reveals open sewers, pothole-strewn dirt roads instead of pavement, no sidewalks, bus riders blatantly spitting on pedestrians, and beggars sleeping on streets alongside cows and dogs that tear apart dead carcasses.
The lack of basic cleanliness exhibited by urban dwellers is so flagrant that large signs direct people in the following: “Don’t throw trash on the street. Use garbage cans.” However, nobody seems to care. Rotting food, mountains of litter, cow manure, and rivers of stagnant filth cannot be avoided.
To combat rampant homelessness, squatters huddle in buildings not fit for rats. Those who do legitimately rent apartments often only receive electricity after illegally stringing up concocted wiring systems that frequently cause fires.
That’s not all.
Barely 50% of adult Indians are employed. Some 98,000 Indians die each year from diarrhea, and one-third of the globe’s malnourished toddlers reside in this hellhole. AIDS cases run into the multi-millions, while post-adolescent girls are forced into prostitution or prearranged marriages. Rapes of women of all ages are also rampant.
Appalled by this scenario, on April 14 AMERICAN FREE PRESS contacted Jefferson Varner, author of an article entitled “India: Still the Most Unsanitary Place on Earth?”
In addition to discussing India’s nauseating pollution problems, Varner addressed this nation’s biggest taboo secret.
Varner stated: “According to The Indian Express [an Indian daily newspaper that is in English], 60% of India’s 1.3 billion residents lack access to indoor toilets. That’s 775 million people who see open defecation as the norm. The situation is so bad that India’s prime minister had to publicly give a speech in order to raise awareness about using toilets. Still, citizens didn’t care about his declarations. The cultural belief in India is that open defecation is done at their will. After doing so, they let their waste lay rather than cleaning it up. It’s unfathomable.”
To combat these unhygienic practices, Varner elaborated on a newfound strategy.
“The Indian government has spent $495 million to build outdoor latrines, but only nine million of them have been dispersed,” he said. “That means, in some areas, four outdoor johns must serve 20,000 people. Even then, most Indians don’t use them because of long waiting lines and the fact that these latrines are rarely cleaned. It’s unbearable to even step inside of them. Plus, since there’s no fine for public urination, nobody cares.”
The dangers are evident, as Varner deduced.
“Not only are women highly susceptible to rape when they go to the bathroom behind bushes, their small children are sickened by pathogens and tapeworms,” he said. “Thus, India suffers from high infant mortality rates, birth defects, and inadequate lung capacity among their young.”
Incredibly, these behavior patterns don’t only apply to the poor. Varner added, “Wealthy Indians don’t particularly like having nor using a toilet in their homes because they feel it will create an immoral place to worship their gods.”
In conclusion, Varner offered this condolence: “We should be grateful as Americans that we’re not forced to endure these same dire issues that Indians accept as a normal part of their lives.”
Victor Thorn is a hard-hitting researcher, journalist and author of over 50 books.