The former country head of HSBC bank and current head of India Sanitation Coalition, Naina Lal Kidwai recently released her third book Survive or Sink which primarily tackles areas of sanitation and water, particularly to do with industry. She also deals with pollution, what our cities could look like and what urban planning should be because pollution and urban planning go hand in hand and also with green finance because none of this is possible without finance, says Kidwai in a talk with SheThePeople.TV.

“I wrote it with the perspective that it interests university students in these areas and therefore encourage conversations. And today environment has become a compulsory subject in the universities so we can use this as a hook to talk about contemporary issues and what needs to be done. It is about very topical things like sanitation, waste and waste that we don’t treat like faecal sludge and on the other hand pollution which we know is an issue for us in our country,” she delves into what Survive or Sink is about and how it is crucial to current times.

Because of poor sanitation access, women in rural areas have to resort to going out in the dark, before night or after sunset, this leads to crimes against women like rape even if they go in groups.

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When asked how women are centric to the cause of sanitation, she says that the whole case of it really affects women. “Because of poor sanitation access, women in rural areas have to resort to going out in the dark, before night or after sunset, this leads to crimes against women like rape even if they go in groups. That itself is so horrendous to me aside from the various health issues that women face like urinary infection risks.

And if you have a sick child at home because you have an unhealthy environment around you then you as a woman won’t think of going to work because you’re going to spend all your time tending to sick children. 60% of a person’s salary could go towards issues of health so what we should do is look for ways to save that hefty percentage by giving a clean sanitary environment where every kid grows up healthy and you’re not having to deal with the downtime where the elders of the family or the children are sick all the time.”

The book underscores the role that citizens, industry, civil society, media and the government need to play in collaboration with each other to address poor sanitation, water and pollution, thus improving human well-being, health, and thereby also reducing the impact of climate change.

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