Indian woman granted divorce over husband’s failure to build a toilet at home

It is not the first time a marriage has been called off over a toilet. (Shutterstock)
Updated 21 August 2017
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Indian woman granted divorce over husband’s failure to build a toilet at home

DUBAI: A woman in India has been granted permission to divorce her husband over his failure to build a toilet in their home, which forced her to relieve herself in nearby fields.
The family court in the northwestern state of Rajasthan ruled in favor of the woman on Friday after she argued that her husband’s failure to provide an indoor toilet during their five years of marriage amounted to cruelty.
Indian media reported that the woman had filed for divorce in 2015.
A report in the Times of India quoted the court’s judgement as saying: “We spend money on buying tobacco, liquor and mobile phones, but are unwilling to construct toilets to protect the dignity of our family.
“In villages, women have to wait until sunset to answer nature’s call. This is not only physical cruelty but also outraging the modesty of a woman.”
Justice Rajendra Kumar Sharma said women in villages often endured physical pain waiting until darkness to relieve themselves outdoors.
The judge labelled open defecation — a major health problem in India — disgraceful and deemed it torture to deny women a safe environment for relief, the woman’s lawyer Rajesh Sharma told AFP.
Divorce is only granted in India if proof such as cruelty, violence or undue financial demands are shown in court.
It is not the first time a marriage has been called off over a toilet.
Last year a woman refused to tie the knot in Uttar Pradesh state after her fiancé refused to build a toilet for the couple.
Nearly half of India’s population — almost 600 million people — defecate in the open, according to UNICEF.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has promised to build a toilet in every home by 2019 in a bid to stamp out open defecation.
The government says 20 million toilets have been constructed since the start of the scheme in 2014.
— With AFP


Dead whale in Philippines had 40 kg of plastic in stomach

In this photo taken on March 16, 2019, Darrell Blatchley, director of D' Bone Collector Museum Inc., shows plastic waste found in the stomach of a Cuvier's beaked whale in Compostela Valley, Davao on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao. (AFP)
Updated 20 March 2019
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Dead whale in Philippines had 40 kg of plastic in stomach

  • The animal died from starvation and was unable to eat because of the trash filling its stomach, said Darrell Blatchley, director of D’ Bone Collector Museum Inc.

MANILA: A starving whale with 40 kilos (88 pounds) of plastic trash in its stomach has died after being washed ashore in the Philippines, activists said Monday, calling it one of the worst cases of poisoning they have seen.
Environmental groups have tagged the Philippines as one of the world’s biggest ocean polluters due to its reliance on single-use plastic.
That sort of pollution, which is also widespread in other southeast Asian nations, regularly kills wildlife like whales and turtles that ingest the waste.
In the latest case, a Cuvier’s beaked whale died on Saturday in the southern province of Compostela Valley where it was stranded a day earlier, the government’s regional fisheries bureau said.
The agency and an environmental group performed a necropsy on the animal and found about 40 kilograms of plastic, including grocery bags and rice sacks.
The animal died from starvation and was unable to eat because of the trash filling its stomach, said Darrell Blatchley, director of D’ Bone Collector Museum Inc., which helped conduct the examination.
“It’s very disgusting and heartbreaking,” he told AFP. “We’ve done necropsies on 61 dolphins and whales in the last 10 years and this is one of the biggest (amounts of plastic) we’ve seen.”
The 15.4-foot (4.7-meter) long whale was stranded in Mabini town on Friday where local officials and fishermen tried to release it, only for the creature to return to shallow water, said the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.
“It could not swim on its own, emaciated and weak,” regional bureau director Fatma Idris told AFP.
“(The) animal was dehydrated. On the second day it struggled and vomited blood.”
The death comes just weeks after the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternative released a report on the “shocking” amount of single-use plastic in the Philippines, including nearly 60 billion sachets a year.
The Philippines has strict laws on garbage disposal but environmentalists say these are poorly implemented.
The problem also plagues the archipelago’s neighbors, with a sperm whale dying in Indonesia last year with nearly six kilograms of plastic waste discovered in its stomach.
In Thailand, a whale also died last year after swallowing more than 80 plastic bags. A green turtle, a protected species, suffered the same fate there in 2018.