by Priya Anand, India Co-ordinator at Jeevika Trust
The latest statistics from the Indian Government indicate that 89 Lakh (8.9 million) individual household toilets have been built in rural areas in the last year. To accelerate the efforts to achieve universal sanitation coverage and to put focus on sanitation, Prime Minister Modi launched the Swachh Bharat (Clean India) Mission on 2nd October, 2014. The push in rural areas has increased the access of toilets to 46.9% from only 32.6% in 2011 across the country.
Urban development minister M Venkaiah Naidu, claiming that Swachh Bharat is the “mother of all new missions”, said that changing the mind-set and attitude of people remains the biggest challenge. States like Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana have performed better in respect of construction of individual household toilets, while other states have lagged behind or are still to begin construction.
Solid household waste management is a key component of the mission in urban areas, and till August this year, 100 percent door to door collection of municipal household solid waste (for example plastics, styrofoam containers, bottles, cans, papers, scrap iron, and other rubbish) has been reported in 31,593 of the total 78,003 municipal wards and the mission is on course to achieve the target of door to door collection of 50 percent of solid household waste by March. 17 percent of 1.42 lakh (142,000) tonnes of solid waste generated is being processed as against the target of 35 percent.
Recognising the need for improved sanitation, Jeevika has supported its Indian NGO partners in toilet construction and has constructed over 185 individual village toilets in Odisha and 8 gender-segregated toilet blocks in village schools both in Odisha and Tamil Nadu since 2008. Women’s Organisation for Rural Development (WORD) in Tamil Nadu will soon start an anti-plastic and waste management programme in select schools in Namakkal District.
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