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At the start of the second decade of the 21st century we are faced with the shameful fact that a staggering 716 million men, women and children defecate in the open every day, in South Asia, contributing to the most appalling concentration of poverty and disease and the poorest standards of hygiene in the world; this in a region where annual GDP growth appears to be amongst the highest in the world.
Open defecation is a problem of colossal dimensions and the extreme manifestation of a stark sanitation situation, where widespread pollution due to unsanitary disposal of human excreta threatens well-being and life itself.
There are two facets to the problem in South Asia, both of which are unacceptable. The first is a problem of scale. Hundreds of millions of people in South Asia have historically practiced open defecation, especially in rural areas: a veritable sanitation crisis that impairs progress in the region. Many districts in India, Nepal and Pakistan fall in this category.
In this short film, WSSCC, Freshwater Action Network South Asia, and WaterAid captured the thoughts, hopes and dreams of ordinary people in South Asia about sanitation and hygiene.