June 8 2018

#BlogToPM – The problem of Open defecation in India & solutions

India initiated Swachh Bharat on 2nd October 2014, as its flagship mission with the target date of 2nd October 2019 – 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. This program has making India defecation free by 2019, treatment of municipal solid waste, elimination of manual scavenging, and converting pour toilets to flush toilets.

Nothing in this world is impossible; it needs continuous and approach towards our aim. An open defecation free India is not a far-fetched dream, it can become reality if we pledge for so. The people of this Nation should feel it as their duty to keep our nation clean and the government should assist them in doing their duty. The nation which vouches for gender equality should provide all its women the right to answer their natural nature’s call in dignified way. Since ours is a huge country of varying culture and geography, the mission to have an open defecation free India in short time period of 2 years will be ineffective without aid of Technology.

Due to the practice of open defecation we are even losing our revered rivers which ultimately question our disease free, long and healthy life. There are so many challenges to achieve this goal but it can be easily achieved if we make the agenda of open defecation free India by 2019 a mass movement.

There was time when our whole Nation was trying to get rid of cruel British government, at that time Gandhiji said, “Sanitation is more important than political freedom”. The crux of his statement can get understood, according to which, what would we do of that freedom where we are not civilized enough to have proper sanitation facility, what would we do of that freedom where we will not remain healthy due to our improper sanitation activity, what would we do of that freedom where we cannot even protect the dignity of our women during their nature’s call. Then it is better first to have proper sanitation habit and facility, only after that we would be able to understand and use our freedom in a right way. Today even after 70 years of Independence only around 39% of our population have access to safe sanitation facilities, we are still unable to tap the full potential of our freedom.

It is being estimated that with proper sanitation facility, an Indian family would be able to save around ₹50,000 per year which would have spent on disease caused by open defecation. It is not just only we humans are affected by our own habit; it is sometime our nature too pay for this habit of ours. Ganga which is known for its life giving water is now at the stage where it is struggling for its own life. The Ganga River passes through 66 districts across 5 states is being heavily affected by E-Coli bacteria due to habit of people defecating in Gangatic plains. Now the life giving water of river Ganga has turned into life-threatening which itself brings misfortune for us.

The reasons for defecating in open space are not just one but many, the flush toilets consume more water than is consumed in a small steel mug. People defecate in open citing the filling of tank, which would be prevented if they defecate in open. Also, men often dominate in defecating in open, as this also prevents the dignity of women, and also prevents filling of tank.

The solution to eliminating the open defecation lies in a step wise process which includes making of toilets. Although, there are many toilets being built in three years, yet proper attention should be given to the toilets based on gender and proper toilets for women and girls in schools with water supply. Containment process which means defecating in open should be stopped by imposing penalties if possible and spreading awareness among people, as the ongoing campaign ‘Darwaza Bandh’. This will help in bringing behavioural change in people. Transportation of the sewage from one part to another should also be focused. Here sealed pipes should be used for transporting waste to reduce land pollution. Treatment of the waste is an important step. This includes the involvement of municipalities in waste disposal.

Things are changing fast since when safe sanitation become mass agenda under Swachh Bharat Mission which aims at making open defecation free India by 2019 for which various steps has been already taken. According to study at present 69% of our population have access to safe sanitation which was 39% till 2014. 4484 villages through which Ganga river passes have been declared open defecation free. Peoples are being promoted for opting save sanitation methods through financial support, catchy slogans, catchy advertisement and the most important in order to bring the behavioural change the habit related to safe sanitation are linked with pride and prestige, for example – toilet is being called as “Izzat ghar” which persuade the rigid section of society to change their habit for safe sanitation. Around 4.8 crore toilet have been built under Swachh Bharat mission and there is proper mechanism to tackle slip back in this mission.

India is in the right path to achieve the open defecation free status. Now a days, this mission has been seen as social mission than as government scheme. There are some concerns regarding speed of implementation. If the above stated concerns are addressed through the effective action, India will definitely become Open defecation free country by 2019 or soon.

 This post is a part of #BlogToPM, on Blogadda

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