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One Staggering Map Shows the Amount of People Still Defecating Outside in the World's Largest Democracy

"Open defecation per square kilometer is what matters, and [it's] increasing..."

Image via imgur

India is many good things: the birthplace of meditation and the concept of zero, the reigning cricket world champion and the planet's largest democracy.

It's also a country where hundreds of millions of people defecate outside.

Image via imgur Image via imgur

A map making the rounds this week on Reddit shows the enduring prevalence of outdoor defecation in India, a matter of severe public health concern as the crowded subcontinent's population — already more than 1.2 billion people — continues to climb.

The map comes from a July publication from the Rice Institute, which highlighted the health risks, especially for children, of having millions of people eliminating waste in the open.

While the institute noted that things appear to have improved since 2001...

Image via Rice Image via Rice

...the raw numbers of Indians defecating in the open remain staggering.

Image via Rice Image via Rice

On the key issue — has India's open defecation problem gotten better or worse? — Rice's report reached a "depressing" conclusion: "Open defecation per square kilometer is what matters, and its [sic] increasing in India."

Image via Rice Image via Rice Institute

While access to toilets may be improving along India's southwestern coast and in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and other central Indian states face more open defecation than they did at the turn of the millennium.

Follow Zach Noble (@thezachnoble) on Twitter

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