Hyderabad: Administrative Staff College of India (ASCI), a public policy institute has sought to raise the pitch on safe sanitation by asking political parties to include it in their manifestos for the April-May Lok Sabha elections. Ahead of the polls, the city-based institution has come out with several suggestions under ‘Right to Safe Sanitation for All and At All Times, ‘stressing the need to take measures to ensure safe and total sanitation by 2024. ASCI Director V Srinivas Chary said India has made significant progress in enhancing access to toilets through provision of individual household latrines, public toilets, and community toilets to make urban local bodies open defecation free. He said,
Sanitation is more than just building toilets. It is a system that addresses human waste from generation to its treatment for reuse or safe disposal. Urban areas in India are facing the burden of indiscriminate disposal of untreated feacal sludge evacuated from pit latrines and septic tank. The unregulated private operators are causing unprecedented degradation of environment and harm to public health.
Feacal waste is several times more polluting than sewage and hence need immediate attention to protect public health and water bodies, Mr. Chary said. He pointed out that usage of toilets coupled with safe feacal sludge and septage management are critical for better sanitation outcome and building liveable cities.
ASCI is working with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Government of India in developing and operationalising urban sanitation and faecal waste management policies and incentive schemes. With the support of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, ASCI has introduced Faecal Sludge Treatment Plants at Narsapur in West Godavari District in Andhra Pradesh and at Warangal in Telangana.
The institution has recommended that all political parties need to prioritise urban sanitation especially faecal waste management to salvage population from public health crisis. Professor Chary told Press Trust of India (PTI),
Flush and forget will no longer work in India cities. The waste from toilets – feacal waste – needs to be safely managed to prevent massive disease outbreak. It will hit our children, directly. Waste should be recycled and upcycled to prevent water crisis and land shortage in cities. This calls for deep political will and budgetary support.
ASCI suggested that political parties in their manifestos pledge to enact the “Right to Safe Sanitation for All and At All Times”, to ensure equitable sanitation, especially meeting the needs of women and girls, marginalised populations and the under-served living in slums and informal settlements.
Ensuring safe handling and treatment of human waste and wastewater are among the suggestions by ASCI which urged political parties to prioritise safe sanitation-related issues in their manifestos. ASCI further suggested that there should be provision of menstrual hygiene management facilities in all public institutions, government offices, public toilets and cinema halls, among others.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swachh India campaign lends support to the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). Helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, the campaign aims to spread awareness about hygiene and sanitation, the importance of building toilets and making India open defecation free (ODF) by October 2019, a target set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when he launched Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2014. Over the years, the campaign has widened its scope to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and menstrual hygiene. The campaign has also focused extensively on marine pollution, clean Ganga Project and rejuvenation of Yamuna, two of India’s major river bodies.