Happy Anniversary, Swachh Bharat? Not quite

Seetha Gopalakrishnan
Monday, October 5, 2015 - 19:26
Lack of adequate information, education and communication main reason behind the limited sanitation behaviour change
 
Researchers have, time and again, pointed out the fact that the lack of proper information and ill-designed communication campaign are among the fundamental reasons why sanitation programmes fail to take off. Outsourcing IEC activities, failure to address the objectives of the Swachh Bharat Mission and the general lack of awareness about the various toilet models are some of the concerns that are yet to be addressed appropriately.
 
Happy Anniversary, Swachh Bharat? Not quite
 
Despite the high-octane campaigning and the frequent media mentions, the annual report card of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan fails to impress many. Close to just 20-25% of the toilet construction targets seem to have been achieved over the year and the solid waste management situation has not improved much either. The mission still has a long way to go before it can claim any tangible successes with respect to attitudinal change and actual toilet use. 
 
'Some states like UP and Bihar yet to pick up the Swachh Bharat momentum': Venkaiah Naidu
 
While the progress of the ‘Mother of all Missions’, the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan cannot be totally discounted, some states are yet to pick up the required momentum. While Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are among the laggards, five Union Territories, including Delhi are yet to open their construction account. 
 
The dream of a ‘Swachh Bharat’ cannot be realized in isolation: Concern for good health must be prioritized
 
Debilitating neglected tropical diseases such as anemia and malnourishment are not something unheard of in India, and good sanitation plays a key role in stemming the spread of these ailments. Unless public health concerns are incorporated into the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’s work plan, it is difficult to truly realize the dream of a ‘Clean India’ in its broadest sense. 
 
A year elapses and not a single household toilet built under the Swachh Bharat Mission in the country's capital
 
Delhi has the dubious distinction of not adding even a single household toilet since the launch of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan a year back. And all this despite the city’s three municipal corporations headed by members of the ruling party. 
 
Eco-friendly bio-digester toilets hold the key to cleaner, sewage-free cities
 
With the increasing water crunch and the ever-increasing sewage disposal woes, the DRDE’s bio-digester toilets could probably hold the key to a sustainable future. These toilets, which act as decentralized, small-scale Sewage Treatment Plants could very well help clean up cities in an eco-friendly manner.

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