It’s World Toilet Day on Saturday, and Indian NGOs could not have found a better brand ambassador than actor Ranbir Kapoor, however accidentally he may have assumed the role.
In a TV chat show, the 29-year-old actor confessed that he was recently caught peeing in the middle of a highway connecting Karjat and Mumbai.
“I just could not resist it anymore. But an officer caught me and yelled at me,” said Ranbir, who then apologised and paid a fine. He told us, “It’s the call of nature; when you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go, and there was no public loo around that time so I had no choice.”
Delhi authorities are hopeful that men in the city will take a cue from the incident, and mend their ways.
“Many people don’t have access to proper sanitisation, so it’s sad when those who do stop to answer nature’s call wherever they feel like. But, Ranbir did the right thing by apologising, and now he should take his apology seriously. I hope others follow Ranbir and take a pledge to never pee in public again,” says Dr Bindeshwar Pathak, founder, Sulabh Sanitation Movement.
Earlier this year, the New Delhi Municipal Corporation had to impose a fine of up to Rs 100 on those caught peeing in public. “We decided to penalise people with spot challans to keep the city clean,” says a spokesperson. But, Delhiites feel R100 is too small a fine. “It should be a jailable offence. These people spoil public property and the stench won’t go away with R100; utne ka room freshener bhi nahi milega,” says Gargi Jha, 18. “Every roadside is a loo to a guy. There should be a special vigilance team for this act,” says Rohit Sen, 21.
Hollywood’s also taken up the cause
The global ambassador for World Toilet Day, Hollywood actor Matt Damon has taken up the cause through his foundation Water.org, which seeks to provide clean drinking water and sanitation. Water.org is encouraging people to tweet about the campaign and use the #talksh*t hashtag on Twitter.