ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: ANCHOR: Poor hygiene and of course the lack lack of sanitation facilities are serious problems in India or if you have ever traveled there. According According to several several estimates, estimates, half of India's billion plus population does not have access to toilets, leaving people with no choice, but to go outdoors.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: ANCHOR: Yeah, people who clean up clean up after them are called manual manual scavengers and though the practice has been banned in India, it still does exist. exist. This is a difficult subject subject matter to discuss, but it's an important public health issue.
ROSEMARY CHURCH: Yeah, here's Mallika Kapur with a report that we'd like to inform you, has some unsettling images.
MALLIKA KAPUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Early morning in Mumbai, the city stirs stirs to life. Everyone gets down to business. These children to theirs, and Ganesh Shinde to his, cleaning up cleaning up human excreta from the city's streets, it's called manual manual scavenging. "I don't like it, but I have to do this to feed my family," he says. What Shinde sweeps, his partner scoops up, their equipment; a broom and tin plate, no gloves, no boots, sometimes a mask. It's tough to take a break take a break Since they belong to belong to the lowest rung of India's caste system, Shinde says food vendors often often turn them away turn them away Sometimes, someone will sell them a cup of tea provided provided they stand outside.
Though the government banned manual manual scavenging back in 1993, it still exists. You can see it everyday, here on the streets of Mumbai.
A 130 million households households lack lack toilets in India and according according to human rights watch, hundreds of thousands of low caste Indians clean excreta from open toilets, drains, drains, manholes and gutters.
Many people have a peg of alcohol before they go down go down a manhole, Shinde tells me, they have to numb numb their senses. It's a dirty and difficult task, but it's also a serious health hazard. hazard. Life expectancy is low and many workers develop health complications complications on the job. Done with his work, Shinde heads home, he doesn't take the bus. When people see his uniform, uniform, they turn away turn away "because I smell," he says, "so it's easier if I walk."
At home, he takes a bath right away to get rid of the dirt off his body, to wash off the stigma stigma associated with associated with his work.
Mallika Kapur, CNN, Mumbai.