The Financial Express

Laxity in public hygiene is costly       

| Updated: August 17, 2019 18:13:00

Evaly and Fianancial Express Evaly and Fianancial Express
Laxity in public hygiene is costly        

There is a growing tendency of ignoring hygiene in this country. From hotels and restaurants to bus terminals and train stations, from households to hospitals and work places - a gross lack of hygiene in different forms is visible almost everywhere. Despite significant progress in adopting hygienic practices in private lives of the people, there is a lack of public hygiene. This is a hard reality.

A few examples are good enough to show how people in this country are compromising on hygiene daily. A large number of people think little of spitting whenever they like and wherever they choose. They care little about surroundings. Sneezing in public places without using a handkerchief is a nuisance and it spread germs in the open.  Many people seem unaware of such basic hygiene.  Not washing hands properly before taking food and after using toilet is seriously hazardous.  Such health-threatening bad habits are common in the country.

The Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) conducted a national hygiene survey in 2018. Its findings are alarming on many counts.  It shows that on around 35 per cent occasions, people don't wash their hands with water and soap after defecation. Again, in only 40 per cent cases, people wash hands before taking meals.  Even more dangerous is the fact that the frequency of washing hands before feeding babies is only 15 per cent. The disregard for hygiene is not due to unawareness but negligence. Still, a large number of people in this country think that there is no wrong in ignoring the practice of hygiene. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) defined the hygiene as 'conditions and practices' helping 'to maintain health and prevent the spread of diseases.' It is not cleanliness only. Cleanliness is an essential part of hygiene which requires mass awareness and appropriate education to put it into practice rightly. 

Foundation of practising hygiene is based on family atmosphere. If parents don't practise it properly, children will not learn. Gone are the days, when a large section of people didn't have any minimum idea of the long-term impact of ignoring hygienic practice. Now, most of the households in the country have basic idea of hygiene thanks to widespread awareness programme and schooling.  Nevertheless, many of them are still reluctant to adopt and practise the healthy behaviour especially in public.

Laxity in public hygiene is terribly visible in public toilets.  Most of the public toilets are in poor condition due to lack of proper maintenance and cleaning. The majority of the users of such toilets also care little about right use and its consequence on public health.

In a densely populated country, ensuring the public hygiene is a challenging task no doubt. It requires continuous awareness building at all levels of society.  It also requires some strict regulations and application of those. Otherwise, the random compromise on public hygiene will be very costly in the near future.   

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