Swachh Bharat 2.0

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    Context

    • India has made significant progress in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) concerning sanitation.

    Background

    • The concept of sanitation in the Indian context has been around since the Indus Valley civilisation. 
    • However, till 2014, sanitation coverage in India was as low as 39 per cent. 
    • Around 55 crore people in rural areas were without a toilet facility before 2014 and this severely affected the health and dignity of our people, especially women and children. 

    Impact of Poor Sanitation

    • Impact on health:
      • Exposure to contaminated drinking water and food with pathogen-laden human waste is a major cause of diarrhoea and can cause cholera, trachoma, intestinal worms, etc, leading to the “stunting” of huge swathes of our children. 
      • Poor hygiene and waste management practices also impact the environment with untreated sewage flowing directly into water bodies and affecting coastal and marine ecosystems, contaminating soil and air, and exposing millions to disease.
    • Economic Impact:
      • The poor sanitary practices impact the economy adversely. 
      • A study by the World Bank states that the absence of toilets and conventional sanitation costs India 6.4 per cent of its GDP in 2006.
      • The economic impact of poor sanitation for India is at least $38.5 billion every year under health, education, access time and tourism.

    Initiatives for Sanitation

    • Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM)
      • Launched by the Prime Minister on October 2, 2014.
      • Goal: To achieve universal sanitation coverage and 
        • to make the country Open Defecation Free (ODF). 
      • Huge fillip to the toilet infrastructure: 
        • By offering financial incentives for building household toilets, as well as community toilets for slums and migrant populations. 
      • Behavioural Changes: 
        • To bring changes to the age-old idea that toilets in the home were unclean, the government ran several programmes with the participation of the private sector and NGOs to educate the population on the benefits of ODF 
      • Achievements:
        • From 2014 to 2020, more than 10 crore toilets were constructed. 
        • The country declared itself ODF on October 2, 2019.
        • Acclaimed as one of the largest behaviour change programmes in the world.
    • SBM 2.0
      • Commenced in 2020 and is expected to run till 2025.
      • Targets: 
        • Sustaining the achievements of phase 1 and 
        • ensuring that treatment of both liquid and solid waste is achieved through the help of technology and private sector engagement.

     

    • Lighthouse Initiative (LHI) 
      • Commissioned by: Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation
      • Implemented through PPP: across villages in 75 Gram panchayats in 15 states in Phase1. 
      • Aim: 
        • To effectively implement solid and liquid waste management structures by employing a participatory and consultative approach through mobilisation of the village communities, corporates, district and block administration and gram panchayat officers.
      • Based on: 
        • the principle of inclusive sanitation and leaving no one behind. 
        • Joint ownership and accountability between local governments, communities and corporates will ensure the success of the initiative.
    • India Sanitation Coalition (ISC)
      • ISC is a multi-stakeholder platform that creates meaningful collaborations. 
      • Stakeholders: the private sector, government, financial institutions, civil society groups, media, donors, etc. 
      • Recognised as the official intersection between the government and the private sector for engagement in helping build solid and liquid waste management infrastructure sustainably.
      • Understanding the on-ground need for solid and liquid waste management infrastructure, it has included activities such as the construction of soak pits, waste stabilisation ponds, drainage channels, compost pits, collection and segregations sheds and biogas plants.
      • The private sector will supplement this through CSR funding.

    Challenges

    • Maintaining ODF status: It is important after a village, block or district is declared ODF. Generally, it so happens that once it is declared, there is no pressure on the district administration to do any activity because the goal has been achieved. Also, many people would tend to return to the old practice of open defecation.
    • Inclusion of Public: The massive task is to include people who still lack toilets, overcome partial toilet use, and retrofit toilets which are not yet sustainably safe.
    • Usage-related Challenges: Tackling cultural and mind-set issues, providing water in rural areas, addressing the problem of small and dingy toilets, stigma associated with pit-emptying, and making-men use toilets.
    • Sludge Management: There is a time bomb of rural and small town faecal sludge management as tanks and single pits fill up and are difficult to empty.
    • Manual Scavenging: Despite a ban on manual scavenging, it continues at various places in the country.
    • Open Water Bodies: Another problem is the presence of open ponds (water pools) in rural and semi-urban areas along road corridors. The ponds are used by people, livestock for various purposes. The poor quality of water in the ponds gives rise to diseases.

    Way Ahead

    • Waste Disposal:
      • Proper facilities for disposal of excreta should be created. People begin to use toilets but the faecal material goes untreated which harms the environment.
    • Converting Waste: 
      • Defining and implementing solutions to convert waste to achieve a remunerative return will not only create hygienic surroundings for the communities but would allow them to become economically self-sufficient in the medium to long term. 
    • Role of Trained Workforce:
      • For behavioural change of the society, a trained workforce is needed that can trigger communities. 
      • This involves taking the community through a participatory process of self-analysis where people are informed about the ill effects of inadequate sanitation.
    • Reusing Water: 
      • Recovery of precious grey water through minimal treatment and treatment of sewage will help tackle scarce water resources, encouraging reuse and conserving water bodies.
    • Partnerships at Village Level:
      • The corporates could team up with the village communities to convert their waste to wealth by utilising simple and cost-effective technologies that can be managed by them independently in the long run.
      • Building the capacity of the gram panchayats in understanding how to manage the various programmes.
      • Managing household and plastic waste as well as wastewater at a village level.
    • Establishing Interlinkages: 
      • The government needs to focus on the thematic interlinkages between WASH and sectors such as health, education, gender, nutrition and livelihoods. 

    Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban 2.0

    • SBM-U 2.0 envisions to make all cities ‘Garbage Free’ and ensure grey and black water management in all cities other than those covered under AMRUT, make all urban local bodies as ODF+ and those with a population of less than 1 lakh as ODF++, thereby achieving the vision of safe sanitation in urban areas.
    • The Mission will focus on source segregation of solid waste, utilizing the principles of 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle), scientific processing of all types of municipal solid waste and remediation of legacy dumpsites for effective solid waste management. 

    Features of SBM-U 2.0

    • Ensuring complete access to sanitation facilities to serve additional populations migrating from rural to urban areas in search of employment and better opportunities over the next 5 years (through more construction of public toilets).
    • Complete liquid waste management in cities with less than 1 lakh population, this will ensure that all wastewater is safely contained, collected, transported and treated so that no wastewater pollutes our water bodies.
    • Material Recovery Facilities, and waste processing facilities will be set up, with a focus on phasing out single-use plastic. 
    • All statutory towns will become at least ODF+; and all cities with <1 lakh population ODF++. Systems and processes will be in place so that all waste water is safely treated and optimally reused and no untreated wastewater pollutes water bodies.
    • Regarding Solid Waste Management, it is expected that all cities will achieve at least 3-star Garbage Free certification under SBM-U 2.0.
    • Special focus will be put on the well-being of sanitation and informal waste workers, through the provision of personal protective equipment and safety kits, linkages with government welfare schemes along with their capacity building.

    Source: IE

     

    Mains Practice Question

    [Q] Engagement of both the government and the private sector is needed in helping build solid and liquid waste management infrastructure sustainably. Discuss.