COLUMN: Mankind–man-cruel; environment–environ-mend

Picture courtesy The Hindu

One day, try standing in a public toilet, which you have just used, for 15-20 minutes without closing your nose or your mouth and see how you feel. I don’t think any civilized person living a civilized life would be able to do it. But whenever you use a public toilet, you see the attendants of the toilets always standing or sitting around, even sometimes having their food inside, cleaning the toilets with their bare hands and wiping the toilets dry throughout the day without any gloves, masks or protective gear. Each time, I wonder how they can bear it.

The newspapers come up with reports every few days about this class of people dying while cleaning septic tanks or sewers, like this one, which is just a few days old:

Much is written about how they are treated as untouchables in our society and how they face government apathy when it comes to their salaries and the need for protective gear. So I thought I would off and on put up links of whatever I read about them in any magazine or newspaper. Those who read these posts are welcome to post suggestions or any other input on this issue in the comments below.

For my first column, here is the link – a great feature I read on this issue by Soumya Pillai of The Hindu: