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Volunteers In India Try To Stop People From Peeing In Public With Drums And Whistles
November 5, 2012
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What's the best way to get people to stop peeing in public?

Well, one western state in India is going to use shame - in the form of drums and literal whistle-blowing - to try to stop them.

In Rajasthan, groups of volunteers will look for people urinating or defecating in public.

When they find someone, the group of four to five people will beat drums, shout or blow a whistle to get them to stop.

If that sounds a little extreme, keep in mind that spitting, urinating and defecating in public are common sights across the country. 1.2 billion people live in India, and nearly half of them don't have a toilet at home.

In the area where the volunteers will work, though, about 80 per cent of homes do have a toilet.

Even so, some people apparently prefer to get some fresh air while they do their business.

The BBC says "in rural areas many people continue to go out in the open even when they have toilets at home because they prefer the outdoors."

The district council is also trying to convince locals who don't have facilities in their homes to build them. Locals will be given 9,100 rupees (about $166) to install a toilet at home.

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This isn't the first time India has tried to discourage public urination, defecation and spitting.

Back in 2009, the Indian capital of New Delhi started an ad campaign to discourage peeing in public.

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The bottom of the sign reads "Delhi's beauty is everyone's duty." There was also a radio and TV campaign aimed at shaming people who spit, urinated or littered in public places.

And in 2011, the city of Coimbatore in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu started posting signs warning of fines and imprisonment for those caught breaking the rules.

Employees of the State Bank of India in that city took matters into their own hands.

Bank workers came up with a clever way to prevent people from peeing on one of their buildings: they stuck tiles with pictures of gods and goddesses on the walls outside the bank. It worked.

There's a serious side to the story. Indian authorities say there are serious health risks associated with regular public peeing, defecation and spitting.

In areas where public defecation is common, for instance, stomach-related ailments affect many people, especially children.

And spitting, which may seem relatively harmless, can lead to the spread of tuberculosis, according to P. Aruna, Coimbatore's Assistant City Health Officer.

Related:

"Pooplets" For The People: Can Composting Toilets Help The Homeless?

IMPROVE IT: World Toilet Day Edition

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