Sunday, April 29, 2012

Unhygienic Sanitation: a TRAP!

This article is written by Dhrumi Gada.

A sign reminding people that they are  responsible  for disposal of their pet's waste. Stray dog’s poop everywhere
A sign reminding people that they are
responsible  for disposal of their pet's waste
There they are….multiplying and breeding only in darkness…. hidden in decaying human and animal excrement, and dark pools of foul uric acid and stagnant water. These are the germs which can suck the life out of us. Dirt and darkness are the parents of disease; and if people live in filth, they are liable to such epidemics of deadly diseases. Unhygienic sanitation is a trap….on us, by us. Can we do something revolutionary about it? 

By looking at what happened to Kashmir, I think every other citizen will diligently work to bring a change. The most beautiful country, with a fine climate, fertile soil, and beautiful rivers; and yet the popu­lation of that paradise is decimated every few years by epidemics of cholera. Why? Because of the dirty habits of its people, who turn their splendid river into an open sewer by throwing into it all the filth of their villages and then drink its poisoned waters.
Sanitation in India is the much sought after problem. Open sewers and clogged drains just open up to the ghastly way of life in cities, helping mosquitoes to breed, and leading to diseases. People have no civic sense. The typical scenario of urinating and defecating in public which seems to be a national pastime are pretty common with the unbearable stink lurking all over. You might see the very next guy doing this pathetic act. It is a shame that educated people too indulge in such behaviour. Stray dog’s poop everywhere. The number of toilets per inhabitant is generally inadequate, with no guarantee that they are hygienic to use! In India, it is the lack of political will that stands in the way of cleaner roads and cities as an impediment. (Image taken from here.)

The response of municipal, state and national governments to the plague outbreak in Surat in September-October 1994 was another example of such crisis management. Despite early warnings about the possibility of an outbreak, officials ignored them. In 1988, Delhi had an outbreak of cholera which principally struck the city’s resettlement colonies and the illegal slum settlements. All this can be solved by proper coordination in the various dispersed agencies and the municipality, organised garbage removal specially the one accumulated since years, drain-cleaning and some street-paving.

The successful implementations of the Urban Basic Services for the Poor (UBSP) in mid-1990s failed because of the financial constraints imposed on the UBSP when state governments failed to release funds on time and municipalities could not contribute their share. The UBSP was discontinued in 1997 (along with two other urban poverty schemes) and replaced by a new scheme, the Swarna Jayanthi Sahari Rozgar Yojana.[1] This was followed by the Scavengers’ Living Conditions Enquiry Committee in 1952 to improve the socio-economic circumstances of the scavengers But Living on the margins of Indian society, scavengers have not been able to make demands upon governments for better access to health, education, housing and welfare services, which made them resort to strikes, hardly bringing any minimal change in their working conditions. The only solution to this is collaborations between governments and non-government organizations for making funds available, and the role of international organizations such as the World Bank and the World Health Organization in the design and implementation of sanitation and public health programmes.

One of the key efforts by the Indian Government to curb and control this alarming situation is the Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC) to ultimately eradicate the practice of open defecation from its roots. Its recently amended Guidelines with improved knowledge, technologies and capacity development concerning sanitation in flooded areas are soon going to make a revolutionary change. SEI, in collaboration with UNICEF-India, has facilitated the inclusion of the ecological sanitation component into the TSC Guidelines, paving the way for a nationwide implementation of more sustainable sanitation services.[2]

Germs Bacteria unhygienic Sanitation toilets indiaAn evidence to the slow and steady revolution being brought about can be seen in the Chadwick's Report on the Sanitary Condition of the Labouring Classes of Great Britain (1842), which called for dramatic social improvements and changes to the nation's infrastructure, including improvements in sewer drainage and the water supply, methods for garbage removal, and better ventilation as part of building design. He thought public health would not only benefit the poor, it might even reduce the number of destitute. (Image taken from here.)

We can’t stop the dogs…but humans can be stopped! The need for cleanliness has to be inculcated at a young age. Fines should be strictly enforced making the people realize the wrong they are doing to the nation eventually.

More public toilets should be built. The collection of garbage should be given to private agencies by which they can be buried deep in the earth at a distance, or, better still, burnt in incinerators. It must have a well strategized system of drainage pipes and channels to carry away the filth.

In the absence of a sewerage system, low-cost drainage systems are a solution to this problem Garbage bins should be kept at strategic points all over the city. Local communities, schools, families and NGOs should be actively involved in creating awareness for better sanitation, by inculcating civic awareness. It is almost universally acknowledged that access to safe water is crucial in the prevention of disease.

As few countries have made significant progress in providing adequate sanitation, the movement for prioritising sanitation in development and health policies has increasingly gained momentum, as it helps in not only combating diseases, but also making a safer, cleaner, and hygienic environment.

Developed Sanitation Laws is the need of the hour! If all the measure above mentioned are worked upon, we can surely make a difference! A revolution!

The above article is written by Dhrumi Gada.

Dhrumi Gada
Dhrumi is currently studying in her first year of  law at Government Law College. She aspires to be a sucessful solicitor some day . She is also pursuing C.S. Her hobbies include reading books, painting and going out on adventurous trips. She also hopes to become an author.

[1] Srikanth, H. (1996), “State, NGOs and urban community development”, Social Action Vol.46, No.1, January/March, pages 46- 54

Keywords: Unhygienic sanitation laws india, Total Sanitation Campaign, waste water management, waste management, water sanitation, urban basic services for poor,  sewers, stray dogs poop


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