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World Toilet Day 2020: Next Biggest Challenge For India Is To Sustain The ODF Tag, Says Experts

World Toilet Day 2020: What is the way forward for India beyond the open defecation free (ODF) tag, experts say an urgent need to focus on waste management

World Toilet Day 2020: Next Biggest Challenge For India Is To Sustain The ODF Tag And Move Towards Solid Waste Management And Uplift The Status Of Sanitation Workers, Says Experts
  • India has passed the initial stage in terms of sanitation, says the expert
  • However, now and the most crucial aspect is to sustain the ODF tag: Expert
  • Experts recommend India to focus on solid waste and liquid waste management

New Delhi: According to World Economic Forum, India’s urban areas produce 120,000 tonnes of faecal sludge on a daily basis. It further states that an estimated two-thirds of the country’s households with toilets aren’t connected to the sewer system in the country. As per the Centre for Science and Environment, 60 per cent  of this human waste in India is dumped in open water and on open land – contaminating drinking water and harming other food sources.

As India gears up to mark World Toilet Day on November 19, which this year has is with the theme ‘Sustainable Sanitation and Climate Change’, the aim is to raise awareness about faecal sludge management, wastewater management and promote sustainable sanitation practices, NDTV speaks with industry experts to know the current status of India’s sanitation and the road ahead.

Also Read: World Toilet Day 2020: All You Need To Know About The Theme And Significance

Arumugam Kalimuthu, Program Director – Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Institute (WASH Institute) said,

India has passed the initial stage in terms of sanitation, which was getting an open defecation free (ODF) tag. However, now it is very crucial for the country to sustain that tag and move towards other sanitation-related goals such as faecal sludge management or managing human waste effectively by treating it and wastewater management.

Also Read: World Toilet Day 2020: Building Toilets Doesn’t Mean Total Sanitation, There Are Many Goals India Needs To Meet, Says Expert From Centre For Science and Environment

Highlighting the road ahead for India, Mr Kalimuthu added,

Currently in India, half of the houses are not connected to proper sewer lines, as a result, even if everyone has a toilet and considering the fact that open defecation is not being practiced, we still have an issue as all the sewer waste is either contaminating our soil, ground resources or river and water beds because the waste is being dumped there and not getting treated. What we need are facilities and investment to help manage all the human waste effectively and it is very crucial. Another important thing is that just like we had separate budget for toilets, we need separate budget or funding for faecal sludge and grey-water management. We are hoping in the next phase of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan or Swachh Bharat 2.0, India will have its focus on these two areas.

Sandhya Haribal, Sustainability Consultant from CDD (Consortium For DEWATS Dissemination Society), a not-for-profit organization that innovates, demonstrates and disseminates decentralized nature-based solutions for the conservation, collection, treatment and reuse of water resources and management of sanitation facilities, said that a lot of action has already taken place in terms of sanitation in our country but there is a lot of ground that is still needs to be covered. She added,

One thing we need to realise is that sanitation is a continuous process, we cannot achieve few targets and stop talking about it later. Though on paper, India has achieved 100 per cent open defecation, but there are still cases of open defecation. We will need to continue with everything we were doing before and move ahead in our sanitation game. Because of past few years, India has started a conversation on sanitation and now it needs to move ahead with more comprehensive plans and implement safe sanitation across country.

Sandhya Haribal also shared a successful example of a small town Devanahalli in Karnataka which after becoming 100 per cent open defecation free went on to attain the ODF Plus status which means sustaining its ODF title and along with ensuring 100 per cent faecal sludge management. She added,

This is a very small town with population approximately 30,000 and 6,400 households, its claim to fame is that Tipu Sultan was born here and that is why it is considered as a heritage site. In 2017, it became one of the areas where India’s first faecal sludge plant was built. Basically, here the faecal sludge or the human waste is collected via Desludging vehicles and is brought into this treatment plant where it is converted into biogas and co-composting waste which in turn can be mixed with municipal waste and get used for gardening purposes or act as a soil manure for farmers in the city. Today the town is tagged as super clean and has gained titles of ODF and ODF+.

Also Read: This Work Has Given Me An Identity: Shalini, A Transgender And A Caretaker Of Community Toilets In A Telangana Locality

Stressing on the point that other cities and areas should follow for better human waste management, Ms Haribal said,

Setting a faecal sludge management plant in today’s day and age is not difficult nor is it costly. I think most municipalities can afford such a plant. The operating cost of the plant is also low as most of the work is done via machines and only few people are needed to manage the day to day activities, furthermore, one can earn money and meet the cost of the set up by selling the manure generated from the waste treatment in the market. All the cities and municipal corporation should look forward to maintaining faecal sludge plants and doing its BIT bid to save the planet.

Also Read: World Toilet Day 2020: The Need For Sustainable Sanitation And Impact Of Climate Change

Highlighting that India needs to continue its focus on sanitation and more efforts are needed in waste management, Meghna Malhotra from Urban Management Centre Asia added,

We have built toilets, we have done the infrastructural bit, however, behavioural change and sustaining the efforts of being ODF is a continuous task that we need to follow. It is a challenge for a country like India as there are lots of people, till the time, each and every individual is not covered, we will not be able to meet the sanitation targets. Secondly, is the fact that we need to move towards solid waste management and liquid waste management. We need to bring up focus to these areas and uplift the status of our sanitation workers. The COVID-19 scenario which we are facing today have at least brought the main warriors – our sanitation workers in to the  limelight. We need to think of ways of protecting them, we need to make their work more dignified. For example, today sanitation workers don’t have separate washrooms or changing areas in their job location, they in fact are dealing with the most hazardous things in terms of waste. Most of the times, the sanitation workers don’t even have proper protective gears on – now is the time to think, how do we protect our sanitation workers. Lastly, when cities and areas will have solid waste management plants working properly then instances of manual scavenging will also decrease, as a result it will automatically safeguard the interest of these workers. India needs a 360 degree plan in terms of sanitation, one law or activity will not fix the problem.

Also Read: World Toilet Day 2020: Meet 55-Year-Old WASH Warrior From Trichy Who Built Over 6 Lakh Toilets In Last 33 Years

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


Coronavirus has spread to 195 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 24,33,49,378 and 49,43,602 have died; 20,48,57,171 are active cases and 3,35,48,605 have recovered as on October 24, 2021 at 3:48 am.


3,41,75,468 15,906Cases
3,35,48,605 16,479Recovered
4,54,269 561Deaths
In India, there are 3,41,75,468 confirmed cases including 4,54,269 deaths. The number of active cases is 1,72,594 and 3,35,48,605 have recovered as on October 24, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths

66,01,551 1,701

27,634 113

64,33,919 1,781

1,39,998 33


49,06,793 8,909

81,155 335

47,97,409 8,780

28,229 464


29,85,598 371

8,943 23

29,38,653 341

38,002 7

Tamil Nadu

26,94,089 1,140

13,280 251

26,44,805 1,374

36,004 17

Andhra Pradesh

20,63,177 396

5,222 176

20,43,616 566

14,339 6

Uttar Pradesh

17,10,082 13

94 9

16,87,089 4


West Bengal

15,85,466 974

7,731 154

15,58,690 808

19,045 12


14,39,566 40

334 6

14,14,141 46



10,37,964 441

4,152 45

10,25,507 482

8,305 4


10,05,827 28

230 16

9,92,025 12



9,54,400 4

32 0

9,45,414 4



8,26,402 24

168 3

8,16,147 21


Madhya Pradesh

7,92,740 11

79 1

7,82,138 12



7,71,141 8

115 7

7,60,977 15



7,26,054 9

36 6

7,16,357 3



6,70,139 207

3,984 21

6,62,209 184

3,946 2


6,08,450 324

3,968 102

5,98,515 219

5,967 3


6,02,189 26

231 1

5,85,407 25



3,48,592 30

202 19

3,43,255 11



3,43,815 16

169 3

3,36,248 13


Jammu And Kashmir

3,31,566 72

862 8

3,26,275 80


Himachal Pradesh

2,22,569 257

1,578 95

2,17,257 161

3,734 1


1,77,852 33

574 26

1,73,920 58

3,358 1


1,27,674 53

457 3

1,25,362 48

1,855 2


1,23,229 122

961 55

1,20,361 67



1,17,261 572

8,943 693

1,07,911 1,258

407 7


84,384 8

101 3

83,467 5



83,322 53

695 3

81,184 56



65,321 1

27 1

64,474 2


Arunachal Pradesh

55,089 14

142 1

54,667 13



31,868 26

195 12

31,279 13

394 1


31,707 18

250 5

30,778 12

679 1


20,899 3

38 2

20,653 5


Dadra And Nagar Haveli


4 0





0 0



Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,648 2

8 2



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