Beyond the toilets to the management of faecal sludge

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The NFSSM is a collaborative organization advancing the discourse on faecal sludge and faecal sludge management (FSSM) in India. It comprises over 30 organizations and individuals across India and works in collaboration with the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs and the Drinking Water and Sanitation Department of the Jal Shakti Ministry.

The launch of the “India for the World” web platform was launched to coincide with “World Toilet Day” which was observed on Friday of this year.

This comes on the heels of India’s Swachh Bharat mission, both urban and rural, where after working in mission mode, the government said it has built 10 61 04 565 (10.61 crore) toilets to date. However, there has been constant criticism of the actual use of these toilets for multiple reasons, including the availability of water and then the management of faecal sludge or sewage.

Therefore, the issue of FSSM has been a constant issue of debate everywhere. A member of the NFSSM Alliance, Sakshi Gudwani, who is a senior program manager at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said: “India has made tremendous strides in improving access to toilets and giving priority is now given to the treatment of human faecal waste. Many states and cities have implemented innovative and scalable solutions for the management of faecal sludge and the delivery of inclusive sanitation services. “

“It is imperative that the lessons learned from these advances are well documented and disseminated to other states and cities across the country for replication and for the world to learn from the great work that is taking place in India. “India for the World” aims to serve as a platform to share learning on the implementation of effective FSSM solutions and inclusive sanitation service delivery, ”Gudwani added.

Up to 60 percent of India’s urban population today depends on on-site sanitation systems, which require dedicated planning for the FSSM. “India for the World” aims to be a knowledge resource for planners, municipal officials, elected officials, state decision-makers, civil society organizations, private sector actors, donors, players in the international sector, etc. to understand the evolutions of the FSSM and the opportunities it presents, according to a press release.

However, all in all, it all comes down to finding solutions for decentralized faecal sludge management, not only in urban areas but also in rural areas.

Dinesh Mehta, member of the NFSSM Alliance, gave examples from two small towns – Wai and Sinnar in Maharashtra. They both achieved ODF ++ status with the implementation of FSSM plans.

An innovative aspect of the plan is the sludge emptying scheduled over a three-year cycle. Before cities implemented scheduled emptying, most septic tanks were only emptied once every 8-10 years or when they were completely full and overflowing, ”Mehta, who is the executive director of the Center for water and sanitation.

Since households could not bear the environmental cost of infrequent cleaning until the tanks overflowed, they viewed septic tank cleaning more as an emergency service than a regular maintenance service, said said Mehta, adding: “It is now, that for the first time in India, an effort to regularly empty septic tanks is provided as a municipal service by these two cities through engagement with the private sector. “

The best part of the two cities approach is that it is inclusive as it covers all properties, including those in slums and low income communities. The payment is linked to the sanitation tax, which is part of the property tax and therefore equitable, with poor households paying much less.

A mobile application called SaniTab or SaniTrack is set up to capture information about on-site sanitation systems and to monitor the performance of private sector operators, while scheduled services are provided.

“Dedicated faecal sludge treatment facilities have been set up by these two cities, where the collected sludge is treated and the by-products are reused for landscaping and urban forest for women’s support groups. ”Mehta said.

–IANS

niv / khz /


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