Open Defecation (OD) Definition by Wikipedia Requires Revision

  • F H Mughal
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Open Defecation (OD) Definition by Wikipedia Requires Revision

Open Defecation (OD) Definition by Wikipedia Requires Revision

Wikipedia defines OD as:

Open defecation (OD) is the human practice of defecating outside—in the open. In lieu of toilets, people use fields, bushes, forests, open bodies of water or other open space. The practice is common where sanitation infrastructure is not available. About 892 million people, or 12 percent of the global population, practice open defecation
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_defecation

The definition says: “In lieu of toilets . . . “ Recent blog shows that in India, people practice OD despite having toilets at home. People consider it manly to defecate outdoors.

I propose that the Wikipedia definition should now read:

Open defecation (OD) is the human practice of defecating outside—in the open. Despite having toilets at home, people use fields, bushes, forests, open bodies of water or other open space. The practice is common where sanitation infrastructure is not available. About 892 million people, or 12 percent of the global population, practice open defecation.

Any comment?

F H Mughal

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Re: Open Defecation (OD) Definition by Wikipedia Requires Revision

Dear Mughal,

I agree with you that the lead section in that Wikipedia article needed some work. Even the term "in lieu of" is not familiar to many non-native English speakers, I would say.
I have now changed it, how do you like the new version? It now reads:

Open defecation is the human practice of defecating outside, in the open environment. People may choose fields, bushes, forests, ditches, canals or other open space for defecation. They do so because either they do not have a toilet at home or due to traditional cultural practices.[1] Even if toilets are available, behaviour change efforts may still be needed to promote the use of toilets. The practice is common where sanitation infrastructure is not available.

About 892 million people, or 12 percent of the global population, practice open defecation.[2] Seventy-six percent (678 million) of the 892 million people practicing open defecation in the world live in just seven countries. India is the country with the highest number of people practicing open defecation, around 525 million people.[2]

The term 'open defecation' is used in literature about water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH). Open defecation can pollute the environment and cause health problems. High levels of open defecation are linked to high child mortality, poor nutrition, poverty, and large disparities between rich and poor.[3](p11)

Ending open defecation is an indicator being used to measure progress toward the sustainable development goals. Extreme poverty and lack of sanitation are statistically linked. Therefore, eliminating open defecation is thought to be an important part of the effort to eliminate poverty.[4]


See here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_defecation

Let me know if you have further ideas on improving this article so that layperson can easily grasp what's going on in the world regarding open defecation?

Regards,
Elisabeth

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Re: Open Defecation (OD) Definition by Wikipedia Requires Revision

My views:

Open defecation is the empting of bowels in the open, in the depressions, or along the railway tracts, without the use of properly designed structures built for handling of human waste such as toilets.

Give reasons for OD practice.

What is the impact on human health and environment?

What are the solutions?

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F H Mughal

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Re: Open Defecation (OD) Definition by Wikipedia Requires Revision

Dear Mughal,

I think the first sentence of the Wikipedia article on open defecation, as it currently stands, is pretty good. It says the same as your proposal but uses simpler wording, thus making it easier to understand for laypersons:
Open defecation is the human practice of defecating outside (in the open environment) rather than into a toilet.

See: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_defecation

Regarding your other proposed content, I would say the Wikipedia article does contain this kind of information already. You can see this from the table of contents:

1 Background
1.1 Use of the term
1.2 Reasons

2 Prevalence
2.1 Data by Joint Monitoring Programme

3 Impacts
3.1 Public health
3.2 Safety of women

4 Prevention
4.1 Integrated initiatives
4.2 Simple sanitation technology options
4.3 Country examples

5 Society and culture
5.1 Media
5.2 Legal status
5.3 Public defecation for other reasons

6 See also
7 References
8 External links

If anything is still missing from the article please let me know. I thought it was fairly complete by now.

Regards,
Elisabeth

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Re: Open Defecation (OD) Definition by Wikipedia Requires Revision

Dear Elisabeth,

Please keep your options. You might get tips here and there. This is because OD is an important topic, and has received increased attention and importance over the years.

Regards,
F H Mughal

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  • JKMakowka
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Re: Open Defecation (OD) Definition by Wikipedia Requires Revision

I guess what is missing is some historical context and possible critisism of colonial & modern end-open-defaecation campaigns.

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Re: Open Defecation (OD) Definition by Wikipedia Requires Revision

That's an interesting suggestion! Would you be able to provide 1-3 sentences about this topic, with references?

We could perhaps utilise some of the thoughts and references mentioned here (although a full paper would be better than just an editorial):
www.forum.susana.org/71-behaviour-change...is-is-not-acceptable
That thread was called "Toilet marketing campaigns in developing countries erode people’s dignity – this is not acceptable"

I think you have also brought this up elsewhere on the forum. Perhaps you could go back to those posts and "recycle" something from there.
Just two requests, please:
- Let's make it quite simple language, easy to understand for laypersons.
- Let's cite a relevant publication or two.

If you put it here, I can add it to the Wikipedia article (or you are welcome to add it yourself, too; adding references can be a little tricky though if you haven't done it before)

Thanks,
Elisabeth

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Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Independent consultant in Brisbane, Australia
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Twitter: @EvMuench
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