Hundreds of millions have no toilets to use

ASIA - In three of Asia's biggest countries, hundreds of millions of people are still defecating in the open due to the lack of toilets.

Throw in the poor state of public toilets, and observers say this could lead to outbreaks of diseases such as typhoid and diarrhoea.

In Indonesia, sanitation campaigners say two out of every five Indonesians lack proper facilities to answer the call of nature.

"And as many as 63 million Indonesians still defecate in the open," Ms Naning Adiwoso, chairman of the Indonesian Toilet Association, told reporters.

These include one million of Jakarta's 10 million residents, many of whom live in slum areas by the capital's rivers, Antara News Agency reported.

In China, there were just 118,000 public lavatories in cities, as recorded at end of 2009.

China usually hogs pole position for having Asia's dirtiest loos, according to rankings by the World Toilet Association.

Last year, the capital of Beijing tried to reduce the stink by holding toilets to a higher standard - one rule says that each restroom should have no more than two flies. In India, a new slogan has been adopted to bring about change: No toilet, no bride.

In central India's Madhya Pradesh state, where the government organises mass wedding ceremonies in poor villages, prospective grooms must show a photo of themselves before a toilet in their house to qualify for marriage.

According to government data, only 25,000 of India's 600,000 villages are considered officially "clean", meaning these places have achieved total sanitation: no open defecation, safe drinking water for every household, and a working drainage system.

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