New Delhi promised to build hundreds of public toilets for the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Only 9 were built, and none of them are functioning. This short report from Al Jazeera’s Sohail Rahman highlights the fact that over 50 per cent of Indians have no access to clean toilets. It focuses on the lack of facilities in India’s growing cities and in schools. The report features rural development minister Jairam Ramesh, the inevitable Bindeshwar Pathak of Sulabh International and UNICEF India’s Suzanne Coates.
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An interesting clip. The problem in India is not about the work and efforts by the governments in general, but lack of innovations, and this is not coming from agencies either those vouch for experience sharing from elsewhere and expertize about issues. That’s the reason the donors like Bill Gates are asking for innovations to fund for sanitation work in India. Therefore, it’s important that we ensure that there are enough innovations and techno-social advancements for masses that lead to adequate improvement and access to sanitation facilities. While this on one hand needs deeper and better understanding of issues at the bottom of the pyramid, on other the techno-social expertise and ability to share and facilitate experiences from elsewhere to advocate it at policy level. That’s a big challenge here in India, and when this is addressed things will improve at large.
We feel that our approach to sanitation needs to be changed
We feel that our approach of looking towards sanitation needs to be changed.
1 The sanitation schemes should be designed as income generating assets by selling urine fertilizer and excreta and other waste converted in to good quality compost.
2 Public and individual toilets should have bio gas linked to it so that energy security will be obtained along with good quality manure.
3 If possible in community toilet schemes further revenue can be generated by having community kitchen attached to bio gas plant and may be at first floor level due to shortage of space and this kitchen will cook food which can be sold in nearby areas feeding the needy and poor people.
4.If social organisations come forward and establish this bio-gas linked sanitation schemes we think that enough revenue can be generated to make them sustainable.In addition revenue can be generated by giving space for advertising.
5.The problem of operation and maintenance is the major issue and hence the we need more organisations who will build- operate- and maintain the facility in association with, may be local SHG’s would be a good idea.
6. Having sufficient space to build community toilets in villages with enough water, electricity and secured place is also a great challenge.
7 The bottom line is that the facility should be clean, very easy to access and use, safe and secured, well maintained and income generating to sustain on its own. And we are in search of such model, so in future, time will come when the organisations will pay some nominal amount to users for using their facility. This will happen only when rest room complex becomes very attractive business proposition.
8. Manure generation, using it in farms, growing organic food and then selling it in urban areas will complete the chain and will generate substantial income through the sanitation complex.
This will require lot of efforts to establish such chain but one thing is certain that let us not call the facility as toilet but let us call it
Bio-Gas and Organic Manure Generating Clean Health Facility.
Architect and Social Entrepreneur.
Parisar Niyojan Samiti( NGO).