3 ways India can tackle its human-waste problem. World Economic Forum, October 2019.
On 2 October, the government of India declared the country open defecation-free (ODF). This is a significant milestone, which has addressed mindset, behavioural change and infrastructure gaps “Before the Flush”. But what happens “After the Flush”?
It is estimated that poor sanitation costs India 5.2% of its gross domestic product (GDP) annually. While much is being done to create access to toilets, the fact remains more than 57% of human waste globally is not contained, transported, or treated in a way that safely contains harmful pathogens.
A staggering 78% of sewage generated in India remains untreated and is unsafely disposed of in rivers, groundwater or lakes, contaminating 90% of all surface water.
India must find ways to manage its faecal sludge to secure clean water sources to meet the needs of its burgeoning population of 1.37 billion, and facilitate their healthy, productive participation in the economy.
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