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Mr. Poo, India's Dancing Anti-Public Defecation Mascot
April 15, 2014 4:22 AM   Subscribe

In order to combat public defecation in India, the UN has created an anthropomorphic cartoon turd with a tune that's catchy as hell.
posted by gman (46 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
No shit.
posted by Xurando at 4:27 AM on April 15 [2 favorites]


Busby Berkeley parodies have really gone to shit.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:32 AM on April 15 [1 favorite]


Is this an American remake? Otherwise, why is it in English?
posted by greermahoney at 4:44 AM on April 15


Hidey Ho
posted by Flood at 4:56 AM on April 15 [14 favorites]


Some background on the campaign here and here.
posted by gman at 4:58 AM on April 15 [1 favorite]


Hmm:
Daily 620 million Indians are defecating in the open. That’s half the population dumping over 65 million kilos of poo out there every day.
If that's true, that's nasty. Well worth fighting.

But are people who make a habit of squatting and shitting in the street going to be the sort of people who will see this video and decide not to shit in the street? Who is supposed to see this and change their ways? "You know, Ishan, this Mr Poo on the television is quite persuasive and absolutely one hundred percent correct. From this day on, I swear that I will never defecate in a public thoroughfare again."
posted by pracowity at 5:01 AM on April 15 [5 favorites]


Is this an American remake? Otherwise, why is it in English?
posted by greermahoney at 8:44 PM on April 15


Short, pithy answer: the Colonial era.

Slightly more nuanced answer: much like Singapore (another former British colony, natch), India is a country where a bunch of different groups speak a bunch of different languages, but everyone speaks English.
posted by DoctorFedora at 5:01 AM on April 15 [4 favorites]


There's a certain Olympic mascot-ishness to this critter.
posted by mightshould at 5:04 AM on April 15


That was the weirdest MiiVerse update I've ever seen.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:35 AM on April 15 [3 favorites]


I've been to some shitty clubs in my time, this wasn't one of them.
posted by arcticseal at 5:43 AM on April 15


everyone speaks English

Nah, more like 20%, about 4% fluently.

are people who make a habit of squatting and shitting in the street

You make it sound like the problem here is a lack of modesty or uncouthness. Millions of Indians work in the streets and other public spaces far away from cushy office bathrooms equipped with Charmin Ultra Soft and foaming soap dispensers. If you're a vegetable seller or chai wallah or a hawker selling postcards there will often simply be no toilets available (and those few that there are, cost money, which means less money for food/rent). I suppose this campaign is good for encouraging those who have the option of using toilets to use them, but for many people, it isn't an option until their infrastructure improves.
posted by dontjumplarry at 5:46 AM on April 15 [18 favorites]


Man, could have used this guy in Berkeley more than once. My roommate, after one public encounter of public defecation on Shattuck, vowed never to live in Berkeley after grad school.
posted by jadepearl at 5:46 AM on April 15


for many people, it isn't an option until their infrastructure improves.

This. The first step is to actually provide enough toilets (public and private) that people have options. Then you run the campaign to stop public defecation, not before.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:52 AM on April 15 [3 favorites]


The protagonist of that video is the Pooed Piper.
posted by Flunkie at 5:56 AM on April 15


I have no way of knowing whether the people I've heard from at Rotary Club meetings are reliable sources, but they've been there and I haven't, so according to them here's the thing about infrastructure vis-a-vis people taking a dump in the street.

No, facilities aren't always adequate. But often there is a cultural divide about defecating in some sort of constructed privy. This is really hard for people in developed countries to get a handle on. I've taken a dump in some bushes near a road once in my life (because my guts were about to explode and it was either the bushes or the seat of my pants/car), and that was enough. But for people who are used to this, going to some special room for this purpose (that you share with a lot of people!) is weird and nasty. My analogy (improvised on the spot, so it may be lacking in key respects) is - what if you had to go walk down the street to some special public room to have sex? Wouldn't it be embarassing? Well, so would doing it in the street, and that's where the analogy breaks down, but I think in their minds they're used to one thing and we're asking them to change, and in some cases they don't understand what the benefit is supposed to be. They're doing it the way the "first world" was doing it just a few hundred years ago, so...

So there have been many cases where they've built toilet facilities in some village and no one uses them. They're extremely proud of them, they show them off to visitors - and they keep on using the street instead of the toilet.
posted by randomkeystrike at 6:06 AM on April 15 [7 favorites]


I keep thinking that in a few months some hipster dude in Mumbai is gonna redecorate his bathroom and paint his toilet like that to be all ironic and funny or something.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:20 AM on April 15


So there have been many cases where they've built toilet facilities in some village and no one uses them. They're extremely proud of them, they show them off to visitors - and they keep on using the street instead of the toilet.

Open defecation isn't such a big deal in rural areas. It's not ideal, since a rainstorm might wash unburied feces into a stream or lake that's used for drinking, but as long as the population density is low and people are going off into the forest or fields to poop, the feces are mostly kept out of contact with people which is what you need from a public health point of view. (And it's also not ideal because small children, the elderly, and sick people aren't going to be able to walk far off into the bush, so they are going to be defecating in/near the houses every day.)

Above a certain population density, open defecation becomes a serious problem, and once a place is fully urbanized it is really not good. That's where the infrastructure becomes the real limiting factor -- while there are certainly people who prefer open defecation (out in the woods, it's quite peaceful and pleasant, for example), there are millions more who are forced to do it because of having no other option.

The recent FPP about Rose George discussed this in terms of the differential impact on women, which is probably the most serious impact of all, and is another reason to solve the infrastructure issues as a first step.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:21 AM on April 15 [3 favorites]


You make it sound like the problem here is a lack of modesty or uncouthness.

It's not what I'm making anything out to be. The post and the linked material make this out to be a choice people are making. It's an advertising campaign "to get people in India not to leave their shit just lying around" -- to convince people who apparently people who have a choice (or why try to convince them) not to shit in the streets.

As The Hindu says:
“Building a toilet is not enough; people must first want to use a toilet — they must want to stop open defecation,” says a UNICEF document. For that, there must be a change in behaviour. And, the Poo2Loo campaign is doing just that.
posted by pracowity at 6:25 AM on April 15 [3 favorites]


I am sad they didn't use "Mr. Poo" by Big Poo Generator as the theme song.
posted by chavenet at 6:52 AM on April 15 [1 favorite]


meet Mr floatie, Victoria bc's sewage treatment advocate.
posted by chapps at 7:30 AM on April 15


This is clearly the spiritual and logical successor to the Yo Gabba Gabba "Party in my Tummy" video.
posted by Spatch at 7:31 AM on April 15 [2 favorites]


This truly went above and beyond the call of doody.
posted by dr_dank at 7:33 AM on April 15 [6 favorites]


Why did they have to invent new characters for this? They could have just licensed either Arale or her pink turd friend from Dr. Slump.

Backgrounder: Arale, the little girl in that clip, is actually a robot. But even so, like many little kids, she has a fascination with poop. Dr. Slump is a popular manga and anime from Akira Toriyama, who would go on to create Dragonball and its interminable sequels.
posted by JHarris at 8:43 AM on April 15


“Building a toilet is not enough; people must first want to use a toilet — they must want to stop open defecation,” says a UNICEF document. For that, there must be a change in behaviour.

Yeah, this is a much bigger problem than many "It's the system, not the people!" people think. I have a few friends who specialized in building toilets across Southeast Asia, where feces-borne illnesses are major killers (open defecation, however far from the village, is a big problem in countries where rain washes everything into the rivers). And they are constantly running up against cultural attitudes that find it weird to go into a special room to poop.

They used to think "Build toilets, then launch campaigns." So they'd build toilets, tell people how to use them, and when they came back, they'd find the toilets being used for storage, people pooping outside, and just as much feces-borne illness as before.

So they decided to reverse the approach. They'd do education campaigns about feces-borne illness. They'd bring in (non-toxic) dyed simulations of waste to show how outdoor poop ended up in the water. And they'd have the most respected people in the village make maps of where all the poop was, then take them around to make sure that the maps included *all* the poop.

Once people became aware of how dangerous outdoor defecation was, and were forced to acknowledge just how much there was, they built toilets themselves! And having built them, they used them. Infrastructure was the easy part.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 8:52 AM on April 15 [31 favorites]


Perversely, this video makes me happy.
posted by BrotherCaine at 9:01 AM on April 15


all right, gonna write something insightful here --

POO

sorry
posted by angrycat at 9:06 AM on April 15


Similar topic; although this video is more about a guy trying to promote toilet use.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:06 AM on April 15 [1 favorite]


Runs Lola Runs
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:08 AM on April 15 [1 favorite]


Hidey Ho

I came to this thread for the sole purpose of finding the Hidey Ho comment and favoriting it.
posted by mcstayinskool at 9:09 AM on April 15 [1 favorite]


💩
posted by ardgedee at 9:36 AM on April 15 [3 favorites]


we're asking them to change, and in some cases they don't understand what the benefit is supposed to be

I think your comment is mostly correct, but which part of the benefit is difficult to understand? Not shitting in the street means that you don't have shit in the street. So you don't have to smell, look at, or step in shit, and you aren't spreading disease.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 9:58 AM on April 15


I love that at the end they provide info on getting the song for your ringtone.
posted by nickmark at 10:03 AM on April 15 [1 favorite]


I think your comment is mostly correct, but which part of the benefit is difficult to understand? Not shitting in the street means that you don't have shit in the street. So you don't have to smell, look at, or step in shit, and you aren't spreading disease.

On the other hand, you're telling someone, "Shit in your house." Outside is much bigger than their house. The idea that shit will disappear because of underground pipes and fluid mechanics can be difficult to implant.
posted by Etrigan at 11:28 AM on April 15


From the Blackadder episode Money.

Lord Blackadder is showing a potential buyer round his house.

Mrs. Pants: But what about the privies?
Blackadder: Um, well, what we are talking about in privy terms is the latest in front wall fresh air orifices combined with a wide capacity gutter installation below.
Mrs. Pants: You mean you crap out the window?
Blackadder: Yes.
Mrs. Pants: Well in that case we'll definitely take it. I can't stand those dirty indoor things.
posted by Paul Slade at 11:45 AM on April 15


That appeals to my interests. Too funny. Thanks for bringing it to my intention. Part of me hoped they would repurpose Captain Doo Doo.
posted by dios at 11:52 AM on April 15


What, no Mr Hankey?
posted by symbioid at 1:18 PM on April 15


which part of the benefit is difficult to understand? Not shitting in the street means that you don't have shit in the street. So you don't have to smell, look at, or step in shit, and you aren't spreading disease.

Having a single-payer health system means that you don't have people coming to work sick because they don't have sick days any more, and you don't have people coming to the emergency room for non-emergency situations. But that's a benefit that a lot of people in this country found difficult to understand.

My point being: it can sometimes be really hard for people to make big changes to what's been the status quo, even if doing so would bring huge benefits.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:43 PM on April 15 [1 favorite]


I have a hard enough time understanding that some people like to sit down when wiping. I can easily understand that changing peoples' habits when it comes to one of the most private and taboo things we do is capital aitch Hard.
posted by brokkr at 2:30 PM on April 15


We need this program in San Francisco. It's fucking revolting downtown. Although our problem is more mental health care than it is sanitation facilities.
posted by Nelson at 2:48 PM on April 15


I saw a documentary about the open defecation problem in India. It was very interesting. I believe it was entitled, "Shit." I recommend watching it.
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 4:36 PM on April 15


I spent two years working in urban and rural India on water and sanitation issues recently, and fixing the problem of open defecation is not as simple as building more toilets. I talk about the issue more here (self-link), but the gist from the blog post is:

Poor communities, especially in rural areas, typically lack access to water to flush toilets, space to build them, or money to fund them. Without a proper sewerage or collection system, the waste will simply pile up where it always has – in the open. Also, Indian contractors are notorious for their corruption and willingness to cut corners, resulting in poorly-built, unusable toilets. So new technology is part of the answer (like what the Gates Foundation does with the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge).

But the other part, the harder part, the part no one likes to talk about, is this: people don't want to use toilets. Indeed, they don't even want to wash their hands after pooping – and this is when someone gives them soap and water. Conceptions of 'clean' and 'dirty' are so deeply embedded in a community's social fabric, and vary so greatly, that changing these beliefs and behaviors is a huge task.

We have to find ways of convincing people that defecating in the open is less desirable than using a toilet. People might not want toilets for health reasons. They might want toilets for privacy, convenience, and social status. They might fear using toilets at night because of snakes, mosquitoes, and supernatural spirits. They might want separate toilets for men and women. They might not want a toilet in their home, or anywhere nearby, because they see it as dirty. Women might balk at the extra labor involved, including fetching water, cleaning the toilets, and making sure children use them. These factors must be addressed from the ground up, rather than as an afterthought to the technological aspects.
posted by Ragini at 4:49 PM on April 15 [4 favorites]


Also, there's a joke in the sanitation community about "sustainable open defecation" that is in some ways an acknowledgement that flushing toilets with oodles of clean water is inherently wasteful even in countries that have plenty of it. Using that much water to flush a toilet is downright unthinkable in places where water is scarce.
posted by Ragini at 4:54 PM on April 15 [2 favorites]


POO POO POO POO
GOTTA TAKE THE POOO TO THE LOOO

*sing it with me*
posted by jjmoney at 4:58 PM on April 15


I saw this in the paper here the other day. I'm not really qualified to comment on it, but it seems related.
posted by piedmont at 9:01 PM on April 15


Indeed Ragini, is it practical to keep the poop and compost it for agriculture? I know of a house locally that has composting toilets, they had to replace the plastic container with a metal one when rats burrowed in and took up residence. Aint nobody got time for the poop rat family!
Here's a simple solution - make poop collection a high caste activity! All we have to do is go back in time and create a role for the poop collector that is somehow akin to the Brahmins. I rest my case. I mean, case closed.
Seriously though, not only is the flushing toilet wasteful of water and requiring of support infrastructure, poop is a valuable resource. Wee on the compost heap and use the poop in agriculture after a year of decomposition.
posted by asok at 7:19 AM on April 16 [1 favorite]


I already thought there was a anthropomorphic animated turd (Mr Hankey)
posted by Hasteur at 11:27 AM on April 16


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