Basic sanitation is having access to facilities for the safe disposal of human waste
(faeces and urine), as well as having the ability to maintain hygienic conditions,
through services such as garbage collection, industrial/hazardous waste
management, and wastewater treatment and disposal.
According to WHO-UNICEF report (2010), India has the highest rate of open
defecation. Access to safe drinking water and good sanitation are vital for family
well-being. It results in control of enteric diseases, and boosts child health. A
healthy child has better learning and retaining ability.
When we turn our heads towards India when it comes to basic sanitation, a lack
of effective laws, poor infrastructure, and a non-existent education program for
those manual scavenging mean the problem continues unabated in India. India's
battle for cleanliness, sanitation, and the end of manual scavenging is
multifaceted and needs to be addressed in various ways.
India is a country of colossal human dimensions. It is the second most populated
country in the world, with more than 1.2 billion people, of which 377 million live
in cities. It has a surface area of 3,287,595 km2 with jungles, deserts, glaciers and
massive urban conglomerations, with climatology of major contrasts and which is
also one of the country’s most threatened by climate change. It is a country with a
human and economic geography of great inequalities and a fascinating melting
pot of cultures.
Consequently, problems also appear on a larger scale, and the most significant of
them is that of sanitation: more than eight million homes do not have toilet
installations. This is the reason behind why it is the country with the highest
number of people who defecate in the open air: around 600 million people in
The Indian government proposed to end this indignity which has a high hygienic
and economic cost. It is the SWACHH Bharat programme: to end defecation in the
open air by 2019. The year coincides with the 150th anniversary of the birth of
the country’s father of independence, Mahatma Gandhi, from who comes one of
the most famous sayings in the world of water “Sanitation is more important than
India is therefore one of the major references when we speak of sanitation.
Logically, however, the mere installation of toilets does not solve the problem,
and we should understand that the toilet is the beginning of a cycle of circulation
of faecal waste that needs drains, non-polluting security, and treatment of
wastewater. There is also a fundamental aspect in which lies the attainment of
sustainability of the actions taken: education. “Without education, we cannot
guarantee either the appropriate use of the installations or their maintenance. It
is essential to establish educational programmes in the more than 4,000
municipalities in the country.
Poor sanitation is responsible for the spread of a number of communicable
diseases, resulting in lost productivity, reduced quality of life, and
impoverishment. Sanitation is one of the most cost-effective ways to improve
public health. Using nationally representative data sets, the report presents
analyses of progress, differentials, correlates, and challenges of sanitation in
India, and discusses the policy implications of the findings. While significant
progress has been achieved in the last decade, the scale of unmet need for
sanitation in India is huge. Greater attention on the disadvantaged- households
from the poorest quintile and scheduled tribes - and the states that have
consistently underperformed could help accelerate further progress.
What should be looked at now is to sustain the practices of healthy sanitation to
keep the Swachh Bharat mission up and running.
•Participation of Ministries.
•Ensuring Piped Water Supply.
•Ensuring Community Led Total Sanitation.
•Ensuring Behavioural Change.
•Making Profits from Sanitation.