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Thinking Beyond Toilets: Swachh Bharat Abhiyan 2.0 Should Focus On Faecal Sludge Management, Experts Say That’s The Need Of The Hour

At the India Sanitation Coalition, experts discuss Swachh Bharat 2.0 and what should it really focus on in order to meet total sanitation goals for India

Thinking Beyond Toilets: Swachh Bharat Abhiyan 2.0 Should Focus On Faecal Sludge Management, Experts Say That’s The Need Of The Hour

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

22,81,49,892Cases
19,07,93,163Active
3,26,71,167Recovered
46,85,562Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 195 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 22,81,49,892 and 46,85,562 have died; 19,07,93,163 are active cases and 3,26,71,167 have recovered as on September 19, 2021 at 3:52 am.

India

3,34,48,163 30,773Cases
3,32,1588,481Active
3,26,71,167 38,945Recovered
4,44,838 309Deaths
In India, there are 3,34,48,163 confirmed cases including 4,44,838 deaths. The number of active cases is 3,32,158 and 3,26,71,167 have recovered as on September 19, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

65,18,502 3,391

51,472 530

63,28,561 3,841

1,38,469 80

Kerala

44,88,813 19,325

1,81,411 8,084

42,83,963 27,266

23,439 143

Karnataka

29,67,083 889

15,783 205

29,13,713 1,080

37,587 14

Tamil Nadu

26,43,683 1,653

16,893 50

25,91,480 1,581

35,310 22

Andhra Pradesh

20,37,353 1,174

14,653 144

20,08,639 1,309

14,061 9

Uttar Pradesh

17,09,652 9

193 2

16,86,572 7

22,887

West Bengal

15,61,014 728

7,967 41

15,34,406 757

18,641 12

Delhi

14,38,469 41

404 3

14,12,980 44

25,085

Odisha

10,19,621 695

5,929 689

10,05,564

8,128 6

Chhattisgarh

10,05,042 28

332 14

9,91,150 42

13,560

Rajasthan

9,54,246 8

102 2

9,45,190 10

8,954

Gujarat

8,25,715 13

143 11

8,15,490 24

10,082

Madhya Pradesh

7,92,386 6

97 12

7,81,772 18

10,517

Haryana

7,70,711 6

323 0

7,60,580 6

9,808

Bihar

7,25,881 10

65 0

7,16,158 10

9,658

Telangana

6,63,281 255

5,148 75

6,54,230 329

3,903 1

Punjab

6,01,236 30

316 7

5,84,453 23

16,467

Assam

5,97,709 365

5,063 102

5,86,856 465

5,790 2

Jharkhand

3,48,114 3

74 20

3,42,907 23

5,133

Uttarakhand

3,43,376 21

282 0

3,35,704 20

7,390 1

Jammu And Kashmir

3,27,773 152

1,479 39

3,21,878 113

4,416

Himachal Pradesh

2,16,813 174

1,610 30

2,11,554 142

3,649 2

Goa

1,75,414 123

771 40

1,71,351 81

3,292 2

Puducherry

1,25,384 128

924 5

1,22,631 122

1,829 1

Manipur

1,18,261 140

2,180 92

1,14,251 228

1,830 4

Tripura

83,840 31

367 37

82,665 67

808 1

Meghalaya

79,325 119

1,876 76

76,075 192

1,374 3

Mizoram

79,171 1,104

14,456 161

64,456 938

259 5

Chandigarh

65,176 4

35 1

64,323 3

818

Arunachal Pradesh

54,060 32

461 44

53,328 76

271

Sikkim

30,893 54

728 28

29,786 82

379

Nagaland

30,840 60

491 20

29,696 39

653 1

Ladakh

20,702

109 0

20,386

207

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,670

1 4

10,665 4

4

Lakshadweep

10,356

6 1

10,299 1

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,598 2

14 0

7,455 2

129

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