Thinking Beyond Toilets: Swachh Bharat Abhiyan 2.0 Should Focus On Faecal Sludge Management, Experts Say That’s The Need Of The Hour
Highlights
  • India needs to focus on treating human waste: Experts
  • India needs to 6 to 7 million toilets to achieve total sanitation: Expert
  • We need industries and business to look at WASH challenges: Expert

New Delhi: According to the World Economic Forum, India’s urban areas produce around 1,20,000 tonnes of faecal sludge on a daily basis, and about two-thirds of the country’s households with toilets aren’t connected to the sewer system. As per the Centre for Science and Environment, 60 per cent of this human waste is dumped in open water and on open land, which contaminates drinking water and harms food sources.

Discussing the challenge of managing human waste and why it should be the next big focus for our country, at the recently held India Sanitation Annual Conclave, Naina Lal Kidwai, Chair, India Sanitation Coalition said,

The statistics are compelling. Though we now have access to toilets more in both rural and urban areas, the issue is how readily are people using them. Often the reasons are toilets being broken down or maintenance and cleanliness of the toilet. I think the success of toilets can happen if faecal sludge or human waste is managed properly. But the issue is that the faecal sludge management has not happened at a large scale yet.

Also Read: Parameswaran Iyer From World Bank Shares The ‘ABCDEF’ Of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan And India’s ODF Journey

She further said that the treatment and management of human waste is an important area and said,

If we cannot deal with how to handle faecal sludge in a way it is safe for our health and the environment, then we will not be able to meet out sanitation goals ever. However, the good part is that the government recognises it. We just need more momentum and maybe a full fledged campaign around it like we had in the past for building toilets.

Stressing on the point that along with the government, we need private sector or businesses involvement in managing the WASH challenges, Dilip Chenoy, Secretary General, FICCI said,

We need to look at the business models that will help make the treatment part possible. Currently, the problem with the management of waste is that no industry wants to invest in it as there are no returns, nor there is a proper code of conduct or an action plan. The need of the hour is to make this sector more viable and profitable so that industries can look into it.

Also Read: 7 Cities Go Beyond ODF Status To Adopt Faecal Sludge Management

Highlighting how COVID-19 pandemic has given some valuable lessons on how coordinated efforts or action-plans can bring positive results, he added,

Never before in the history of mankind, we have seen such a coordinated effort been made by different cities, blocks and other authorities – we are seeing for the first time that all members – from Prime Minister, chief ministers, block officers and all have come together and made some action-plan. I think the same approach is needed to be put in our hygiene and sanitation sector. This is not the problem of one area, it is a problem of the entire country.

Mr Chenoy also said that India is a land of many successful pilot projects and added,

But the pilot projects have never taken a big scale and that is the challenge. We need to leave a better world for our children, grandchildren and for the generations to come and that is why we need investment, successful case studies by businesses that show investment in treatment or management of waste can be beneficial. Obviously, the government should act as a catalyst and should invest more in these sectors and private sectors can contribute their bit to meet the overall goals. If we somehow manage to ensure that no drop of faecal sludge goes into the environment, we can save lives of billions of people.

Also Read: Next Biggest Challenge For India Is To Sustain The ODF Tag, Says Experts

Reiterating the same thing that now the focus should shift towards the treatment of human waste, Madhu Krishna, Deputy Director, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation India added,

The first agenda of sanitation was being open defecation free, which India has already achieved, but the end goal in the sanitation chain is safely managing and treating all of the human waste. I feel, smaller cities or areas are at a receiving point especially when it comes to faecal sludge management. If we can somehow bring equity in the sanitation chain along with the treatment of human waste possible at all levels, we will be able to achieve whole sanitation.

On the other hand, Dr. Meera Mehta, Professor Emeritus, CEPT (Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology) University, Ahmedabad, India said that our country still needs 6 or 7 millions of toilets to be really called as an open defecation free country. She added,

I think, a 360 degree approach is needed in our hygiene and sanitation sectors. We need to continue to build infrastructure available to our people. Secondly, we need to continue to make them aware of the usage and ensure that we sustain the ODF tag. Thirdly, we cannot ignore the waste that comes out of our toilets. We need the Faecal Sludge and Septage Management (FSSM) service throughout – but how do we do it, that’s the big question. There is two part of faecal sludge management – one at looking at the desludging services and second is how do we treat the waste. Not many of us know what desludging really is, nor it is being practiced throughout. So, we need to certainly lay a foundation of human waste treatment and secondly ensure it is being done across. We need some guidelines to be laid.

Also Read: Building Toilets Doesn’t Mean Total Sanitation, There Are Many Goals India Needs To Meet, Says Expert From Centre For Science and Environment

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.  

World

17,66,30,634Cases
5,80,25,717Active
11,47,82,895Recovered
38,22,022Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 193 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 17,66,30,634 and 38,22,022 have died; 5,80,25,717 are active cases and 11,47,82,895 have recovered as on June 16, 2021 at 3:30 am.

India

2,96,33,105 62,224Cases
8,65,43247,946Active
2,83,88,100 1,07,628Recovered
3,79,573 2,542Deaths
In India, there are 2,96,33,105 confirmed cases including 3,79,573 deaths. The number of active cases is 8,65,432 and 2,83,88,100 have recovered as on June 16, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

59,24,773 7,652

1,41,440 8,982

56,69,179 15,176

1,14,154 1,458

Karnataka

27,77,010 5,041

1,62,303 9,859

25,81,559 14,785

33,148 115

Kerala

27,48,204 12,246

1,12,792 1,456

26,23,904 13,536

11,508 166

Tamil Nadu

23,78,298 11,805

1,25,215 11,669

22,23,015 23,207

30,068 267

Andhra Pradesh

18,20,134 5,741

75,134 4,879

17,32,948 10,567

12,052 53

Uttar Pradesh

17,03,207 270

7,221 890

16,74,072 1,104

21,914 56

West Bengal

14,68,044 3,268

20,046 1,125

14,30,949 2,068

17,049 75

Delhi

14,31,498 228

3,078 148

14,03,569 364

24,851 12

Chhattisgarh

9,88,172 609

11,717 943

9,63,113 1,544

13,342 8

Rajasthan

9,50,133 172

5,619 848

9,35,658 1,006

8,856 14

Odisha

8,59,526 3,405

44,358 3,436

8,11,780 6,799

3,388 42

Gujarat

8,21,078 352

8,884 658

8,02,187 1,006

10,007 4

Madhya Pradesh

7,88,649 224

3,610 331

7,76,424 528

8,615 27

Haryana

7,66,357 228

3,703 374

7,53,584 564

9,070 38

Bihar

7,17,949 410

4,360 412

7,04,075 813

9,514 9

Telangana

6,06,436 1,556

19,933 528

5,82,993 2,070

3,510 14

Punjab

5,89,153 628

10,802 1,111

5,62,701 1,691

15,650 48

Assam

4,66,590 3,415

41,184 475

4,21,378 2,906

4,028 34

Jharkhand

3,43,793 184

2,646 416

3,36,058 596

5,089 4

Uttarakhand

3,37,449 274

3,642 266

3,26,822 515

6,985 25

Jammu And Kashmir

3,08,726 715

12,407 1,125

2,92,114 1,830

4,205 10

Himachal Pradesh

1,99,197 321

4,050 382

1,91,737 691

3,410 12

Goa

1,63,048 327

4,175 231

1,55,926 548

2,947 10

Puducherry

1,13,192 355

4,668 279

1,06,828 629

1,696 5

Chandigarh

61,200 40

486 21

59,917 58

797 3

Manipur

61,096 785

8,744 301

51,354 476

998 8

Tripura

60,385 536

4,886 65

54,870 596

629 5

Meghalaya

42,759 450

4,430 99

37,579 542

750 7

Arunachal Pradesh

31,938 290

2,849 40

28,934 326

155 4

Nagaland

23,854 101

2,972 229

20,423 327

459 3

Ladakh

19,649 38

552 20

18,898 57

199 1

Sikkim

18,659 209

3,239 67

15,136 273

284 3

Mizoram

15,899 268

3,637 45

12,191 312

71 1

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,473 9

61 2

10,408 7

4

Lakshadweep

9,297 61

484 36

8,768 96

45 1

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,280 11

105 4

7,049 15

126

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