Septic tanks or death tanks We need to improve sanitation facilities to eradicate the inhuman practice of manual scavenging

India Water Portal
Saturday, November 22, 2014 - 10:30

Author : Gagandeep

“We have to end the biggest dehumanising activity called manual scavenging”

The Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrine Prohibition Act in 1993 was intended to give some relief from this activity, but still nothing has been done to eradicate this practice. Tens of thousands of people are engaged in manual scavenging.

There were 118,474 manual scavengers or their dependents identified under the self employment scheme for the rehabilitation launched in 2007.

One of the difficulties in eliminating this activity is lack of proper sanitation facilities in rural India and urban slums. There are poor sanitation facilities in these places. People are still using dry latrines which encourage manual scavenging. We have to stop the dry latrines practices and help them in making proper sanitation facilities.

There are no sewerage facilities in rural areas. Urban slums are also not touched by proper sewerage facilities. Still workers manually clean the septic tanks, “these septic tanks are becoming death tanks for the workers”.  It is full of many poisonous and dangerous gases, many people are died by inhaling poisonous gases and many of them going to die if we would not stop this dehumanising practices.

Many of them are the sole bread winners of their families. These dependents are forced by social and economic conditions to come into these practices to feed their families. Most of the manual scavengers belongs to SC & ST. Last year, MHA (Ministry of Home Affairs) told all the states that engaging or employing a member in SC or ST in manual scavenging will fall within the ambit of SC & ST prevention of Atrocities Act, but there is no record of any one being convicted under this Act.

We need to create awareness regarding manual scavenging and bad sanitation facilities among the community to safeguard the rights of people against evil practices of manual scavenging. We can eradicate the manual scavenging practice by improving the sanitation facilities in every part of India.