The parts of the cities, where these slums are located, are quite congested, as they are over populated. The conditions of the slum areas in metropolitan cities have deteriorated to such an extent due to the high density of population that the people there hardly enjoy even the basic amenities. The lanes are narrow and the houses are nothing but a single room tenement without the facilities of an open courtyard or an enclosure, thus depriving the people of natural gifts like sunshine and air.
In such areas, people use common latrines and water taps. Some of the slum areas do not even have single rooms, they are thick clusters of small, dilapidated mud huts, the roofs and ceilings of which are made of scraps of wood, gunny sacks, metal or some sort of waste material. Sometimes, 10 to 12 people live, eat and sleep in the same room. The streets are narrow and the sewage water stagnates in open surface drains, which emit bad smell. The children often play in places where the drains are used as open latrines.
Living conditions in many urban slums are worse than those in the poorest rural areas of the country. This can be attributed pardy to the slum’s exceptionally unhealthy environment. Many of the most serious diseases in cities are ‘environmental’ because they are transmitted through air, water, soil and food or through insect or animal vectors.
The concentration of people in areas where the provision of water, sanitation, garbage collection and health care is inadequate creates the conditions where infectious and parasitic diseases thrive and spread. Around half the slum population is suffering from one or more of the diseases associated with inadequate provision of water and sanitation.