Heroes

Don’t Take Your Toilet for Granted


The large number of poop jokes our SUP comics made over the course of Stand Up Planet weren’t just relics of a childhood fascination with laughing over “going number two.” In fact, toilets and sanitation are huge issues in today’s India and, time and again, SUP host, Hasan Minhaj, encountered the debate over defecation during his time with SUP in India.

How can a toilet act as a catalyst for not only sanitation improvement but social change as well? We found the answer with Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak, founder of Sulabh International Social Service Organisation. Dr. Pathak has played a major role in pioneering solutions for sanitation in India, including the self-composting, “Sulabh toilet,” which has not only contributed to improved health but has begun to create shifts in the rigid societal structure in India.

The Sulabh toilet

Previously, most toilets in India required manual emptying and cleaning, a task that fell to the group of India’s caste system called the “untouchables.” The double-pit toilet system Dr. Pathak has developed allows waste to compost into fertilizer, eliminating the need for manual cleaning. Now Dr. Pathak is re-training many of the women who had previously spent a lifetime “scavenging” so that they can have other jobs. With new toilet inventions like the Sulabh toilet, millions of Indians benefit from an improvement in health as well as the current of positive change in society. Watch the clip to witness how one man and one revolutionary toilet are making waves in India.

Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak at Sulabh Social Service Organisation

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Stand Up Planet showcases life in some of the toughest places on Earth – in parts of India and South Africa – through the lens and experiences of stand-up comics. Is comedy the great connector? Stand Up Planet calls on all of us to stand up – to watch, learn and take action to end global poverty.

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