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.
Read the complete article.
Safely managed sanitation is a focus of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It is central to stunting reduction and early childhood survival, both identified by the World Bank’s Human Capital Index as critical for humans to develop their full potential. It is widely known that 4.5 billion people lacked access to safely managed sanitation in 2015, according to the Joint Monitoring Programme. Less well understood is that hundreds of millions more people in densely populated rural areas are exposed to significant health risk due to unsafely managed sanitation.
In contrast to urban areas, fecal sludge management (FSM) is not yet recognized as a priority for the rural sanitation sector – it is assumed to be less of an issue because rural areas are more sparsely populated. However, some densely populated areas fall under rural administrations, notably in deltas and on the periphery of rapidly growing rural areas. In these areas there is also a need to safely manage fecal waste. Many sanitation systems that, for lack of scrutiny, are assumed to be improved and safe, but due to lack of scrutiny they fail to safely manage fecal sludge.
A new World Bank report-supported by the Global Water Security and Sanitation Program (GWSP) – and six case studies identified specific causes of health risks in locations in Bangladesh, Bolivia, Egypt, India, and Vietnam. They include compromised construction of on-site sanitation solutions, incorrect technology choices, poorly developed FSM markets, predominantly manual emptying practices and indiscriminate dumping of sludge in the immediate environment. They found that environmental regulations and building codes do not address FSM effectively, and enforcement is often weak. Rural administrations typically lack the mandate and institutional capacity to provide and manage FSM services.
Read the full blog by Joep Verhagen and Pippa Scott
“Verhagen, Joep; Scott, Pippa. 2019. Safely Managed Sanitation in High-Density Rural Areas : Turning Fecal Sludge into a Resource through Innovative Waste Management
. World Bank, Washington, DC. © World Bank. https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/32385
License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.”
In the next five years, it is expected that more than 500 faecal sludge treatment plants (FSTPs) have to be designed, built and operated in India. However, there is a significant gap in understanding of the faecal sludge management opportunities and operations amongst practitioners such as contractors and operators.
To address this gap, the Centre for Advanced Sanitation Solutions (CASS) in partnership with The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, BORDA and the CDD Society is organising a training course + exposure visit on faecal sludge management from 5-8 February 2019 in Bengaluru, India.
For more information go to: www.trainings.cddindia.org
Examining USAID Efforts to Strengthen India’s Urban Water and Sanitation Sector Governance and Finance. Globalwaters.org, December 2018.
Over 17 years of mission programming, (1994–2011) USAID’s Financial Institutions Reform and Expansion–Debt and Infrastructure (FIRE-D) activity partnered with India’s central, state, and municipal governments to provide technical assistance to 16 Indian states.
The focus of this three-phased activity changed over time, but the goal remained the same: to expand sustainable water and sanitation access to the poor while improving the ability of city and state governments to mobilize resources and increase their revenues.
Through implementer TCG International, FIRE-D piloted policy-related interventions to better plan, design, and finance urban infrastructure.
The most successful solutions were then expanded and incorporated into a Government of India (GoI) urban development scheme called the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).
What We Did
This fourth in a series of independent ex-post evaluations of past USAID water and sanitation activities followed up on six states and cities seven years after FIRE-D ended to understand how urban water and sanitation services have changed and to what extent policies, practices, and financing mechanisms introduced through FIRE-D have been sustained.