Millions of people in India dodge human excrement in the street on a daily basis, while at the same time trying to avoid the horrible smell that permeates the air. Enter: The Google Toilet Locator.
Within the next 15 days, India's Ministry of Urban Development plans to launch the Google Toilet Locator in partnership with the tech giant, allowing people in India to find the nearest clean toilet using Google Maps on their phone. The technology is based on crowdsourcing, similar to the way apps like Yelp provide information on restaurants.
Nearly 620 million people in India defecate in the open, which has significantly contributed to water contamination, causing an ongoing public health crisis. Drinking water with fecal bacteria can cause diarrhea among other illnesses, something that's especially dangerous in children because it can result in malnutrition and even death.
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Open-defecation has been a common practice for centuries, not only in India but in other countries as well. "Open defecation is both a historic and a contemporary practice in settings throughout the world," Korydon Smith, a professor of architecture in the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning, told Seeker. "It has gained attention in India because of the size and density of many cities along with global and nationwide efforts to be "open-defecation-free."