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In Pics: How Sikkim Became India’s First ODF State Before Swachh Bharat Was Launched

Long before the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan was launched, Sikkim became India's first open defecation free state in 2008 as the state government and the local population collaborated to construct toilets using local materials and together maintained a strict resilience against open defecation.

Sikkim installed public toilets along the roads leading up to the state, to ensure that no one defecates in the open.

Open defecation was never a part of the Sikkimese culture, as people who did not have access to proper toilets often constructed toilets of bamboo structures, known as 'Ikra' and used them.

When the drive to eradicate open defecation was launched in 1999, the state government of Sikkim not only looked at building new toilets, but also improved the condition of the existing ones by converting into a covered pit sewage system.

Sikkim which has a population of little over 600,000, was declared an open defecation free state in 2008, 6 years before the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan was launched. Sikkim was also awarded the 'Nirmal Rajya Puraskar' in 2013 for achieving 100 per cent open defecation free status.

Sikkim is continuing its work on segregation of waste before disposal, introducing a better signage system for toilets and maintain an atmosphere of overall cleanliness.

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