New Delhi: After bagging the title of India’s best city in ‘Innovation & Best Practices’ in Swachh Survekshan 2018, Nagpur also known as the city of Oranges, is trying to further improve its rank. During the Swachh Survekshan 2019 that closed last month (January 31), Nagpur applied for a promotion to the Open Defecation Free (ODF) Plus title, which means the city has been able to sustain the long term impact of the ODF status. After centre and third-party verification by Quality Council Of India which concluded recently, Nagpur has been given the ODF Plus tag. This development has ensured that Nagpur Municipal Corporation will have 50 additional points in the Swachh Survekshan 2019 rankings, results for which will be announced in the next few months.
Highlighting the ODF Plus journey of Nagpur, Abhijeet Bangar, Commissioner of Nagpur Municipal Corporation said,
We achieved Open Defecation Free tag in December 2017 and from that very day we started focusing on getting the ODF Plus title. Constructing toilets is an easy part, maintaining them and sustaining the tag of open defecation is a difficult job. But in one year, Nagpur has simply focused on it. We have constructed more community and public toilets as per central government’s and ODF plus protocol, have added particular facilities such as sanitary napkin machines and incinerators and have also monitored the toilets so that there is no gap in its cleanliness and maintenance.
Steps Taken To Sustain ODF Title
After attaining ODF title in 2017, in the year 2018, Nagpur Municipal Corporation took a series of steps. From identifying 84 potential spots where open defecation is rampant to forming ‘Good Morning Squads’ so that they can keep a check on open defecation practices within the city and constructing more community and public toilets, the civic body did it all to attain to sustain the ODF tag. The authorities constructed 1000 toilets and also introduced GPS-enabled wrist watches for sanitary workers so that the corporation can track the work done by them and keep the community toilets clean all the time.
Mr Bhangar adds,
The main focus in Nagpur was given to the public or community toilets and its maintenance. To cope up with this, we outsourced some of these toilets to companies so that the ownership to keep facilities clean can be handled well. Along with this, we continued to check areas for open defecation practices, at the end of every week, officers from the civic body used to go for rounds to keep a check as well.
Mr Bhangar asserts that the city has taken a lead in collecting the menstrual waste from the community or public toilets in a segregated form so that the menstrual waste doesn’t get mixed with the daily garbage and makes its way to the landfills directly. He adds,
What we have done is that we have given a contract to a local company who collects the sanitary waste from all the community toilets in the city and helps in managing it effectively for us. This step was taken as a pilot project, seeing the success of this plan, we are now moving ahead to roll out other effective waste management plans in the city.
ODF Plus Achieved, Nagpur Plans For ODF Plus Plus
Shifting the focus from maintenance of toilets and sustaining ODF tag to solid waste management, the Nagpur Municipal Corporation is now planning to aim for ODF Plus Plus title. For this, the NMC is planning to work on its sewage treatment plants and raise the capacity of managing sewage to 480 million litres of a total of 525 million litres per day of sewage.
Mr Bhangar signs off by saying,
“Now that we have achieved ODF Plus, Nagpur will start focusing on solid waste management and will move towards ODF Plus Plus title.”
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.