Noted Italian Formula One driver Fernando Alonso today joined the cause of better hygiene and sanitation in India to reduce transmission of diseases.
After visiting a primary school in Tugapur village here to promote hand washing, Alonso, who is also a UNICEF Ambassador, told reporter, "This very simple act can save hundreds of thousands of children who needlessly die every year."
"Here we are in a school, with UNICEF and government support. These children have opportunity to use toilets. But it may not be the case for many other children who do not have toilets in their homes and schools. We need to change. We do not need a magic formula. We only need to know the importance," he said.
During the visit which coincides with the Fomula 1 Race to be held here on October 28, Alonso engaged with school children on the occasion of the month-long Global Handwashing Day Campaign promoted by UNICEF and other organisations.
The two-time world champion interacted with students and teachers on issues of water supply, sanitation and hygiene facilities in the school.
Asked how he viewed holding of Formula One Grand Prix in India where a majority of the people do not have access to toilet, he said that it is a "contrast for sure" but added that sports like F1 race will help improve its problems.
He said Formula 1 has put India on world map of the sport. The country, he said, should use sports as a means to solve the problems of its people.
According to the UNICEF, in India, more than 1000 young children die every day from diarrhea due to the lack of safe water, sanitation and basic hygiene.
"Hygiene is critical to good health as it reduces the transmission of diseases and the number of deaths," Alonso said.
© Copyright PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of any PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.