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As Karnataka Nears Open Defecation Free Status, Improving Rural Waste Management Becomes State’s Priority

Nearing ODF status, Karnataka plans to launch comprehensive campaign to work towards sustainable waste management in the state’s rural areas

Karnataka's rural waste management infrastructure to be improved
  • Karnataka’s rural areas generate over 2,600 tonnes of waste daily
  • Poor infrastructure in rural areas result in unscientific waste management
  • Waste management related work to be made a part of MGNREGA

New Delhi: Not only sustainable sanitation, but creating sustainable waste management solutions across rural areas to make the transition from open defecation free (ODF) to ODF plus is Karnataka’s focus. The state’s Rural Development Minister Krishna Byre Gowda visited several rural areas in the state on August 20 to take stock of rural waste management in the state. Karnataka, which presently has rural sanitation coverage of 94 per cent, lacks a stable waste management infrastructure in the state’s rural areas. Mr Gowda during his visit said that the state government was looking to implement scientific waste management techniques in the Karnataka’s rural areas and strengthen the concept of waste to wealth across the state.

Over 2,600 tonnes of waste is generated from rural Karnataka daily, but the state pollution control board’s 2016 report states that less than 50 per cent of it is recycled or sent to recycling centres. Over 45 lakh toilets have been built in Karnataka in the last two years and the rural development department is concerned that the construction of toilets will result in generation of more solid waste and the state’s rural areas must be better prepared to deal with waste. Mr Gowda said that if waste is treated as a resource from which income can be generated, Karnataka’s rural areas will witness eco-friendly economic growth.

Rural Karnataka is nearly ODF, but waste management is still a concern as unscientific waste disposal is still rampant in many rural areas in the state. Lack of proper waste management infrastructure has resulted in people disposing waste casually. We are looking to transform waste management in rural Karnataka by making people aware of how waste can be utilised as a useful source of income, said D.V. Prasad, Additional Chief Secretary, Department of Rural Development, Karnataka.

The state plans to make work related to recycling of solid waste a part of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA). By doing so, activities such as waste collection, waste transportation and segregation will become government guaranteed employments, for which participants will be duly paid. Transporting and selling compost to farmers has also been identified as a possible form of employment by the Rural Development Ministry.

Also Read: Ahead Of Swachh Survekshan 2018, Mysuru’s Civic Body Circulates Short Films On Waste Management To Sensitise Citizens

“We will extend the concept of waste to wealth across all rural regions. Similar to urban municipal corporations, waste collection and transportation, recycling, selling of compost etc. will be paid jobs. We expect people to become more conscious about waste management, once they realise the value of waste and how it can be turned into wealth,” said Mr Prasad.

The Rural Development department said that a comprehensive programme FOR tackling waste management problems in rural areas will begin next month. The department is also bracing for an upturn in solid waste in many of the state’s rural areas, which are presently facing a grim situation due to floods. While neighbour Kerala is facing its worst floods in hundred years, Karnataka is also facing a dire situation due to floods, with over 6,000 people rehabilitated in relief camps. Once the flood situation is under control, the rural development department is confident of revamping its waste management efforts and drive Karnataka’s rural areas towards securing the ODF plus status.

Also Read: Karnataka Deputy CM Promises A Plastic Free Bengaluru And Tackling City’s Lake Pollution On ‘War Footing’

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 pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and menstrual hygiene. The campaign has also focused extensively on marine pollutionclean Ganga Project and rejuvenation of Yamuna, two of India’s major river bodies.

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