Introducing Mr. Poo, crusader against public defecation in India

Delhi imagesIf there’s something strange
in your neighborhood

Who you gonna call?
Mr. Poo!

If there’s something weird
and it don’t smell good

Who you gonna call?
Mr. Poo!

With apologies to Ray Erskine Parker, Jr., ghosts aren’t real, but taking a dump in public in India is. In response, UNICEF has launched a new campaign called “Poo2Loo”, which features as its mascot a giant pile of feces named Mr. Poo (pictured here).

According to the Facts and Stats provided at the website:

  • 620 million Indians, half the population, defecate in the open.
  • 65 million kilos (143 million pounds) of poo are dumped in public venues every day.
  • 28 million school children lack access to a toilet in school.
  • Females often avoid defecating until nighttime to avoid shame and possible assault.

In short this is a serious public health problem. But Mr. Poo? The unusual creature appears in videos, where he walks, talks, and dances. (A sample video can be found on this page.)

There is even a video game called “Toilet Trek,” which enables players to experience the challenge of finding a public toilet in India.

The campaign is evidently working. According to the website 1,14,565 (which is either missing a digit or has an extra comma) Indians have taken a pledge to stop dropping their load in public.

Mr. Poo is not the only unusual mascot created to promote a public health message. In 2013, Brazil’s Association of Personal Assistance for Cancer (AAPEC) devised a campaign to increase awareness of testicular cancer. The mascot was Senhor Testiculo. His picture is here.

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