By SHANKAR BENNUR, MYSURU, January 6, 2016
For the first time in an Indian Science Congress, a session on sanitation was introduced for a discussion on the country’s status in the area of hygiene which had received national attention with the launch of Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM).
The ongoing 103rd ISC in Mysuru hosted the session with Bindeshwar Pathak, the founder of Sulabh Sanitation Movement, who is described as the “Soldier of Sanitation”, being one of the speakers. The session was chaired by K.J. Nath from Kolkata who is considered one of the foremost experts on sanitation and community water supply. The session had other speakers.
Mr. Pathak spoke on “Promoting Community Sanitation in the country: Problems and Prospects.”
He said his institution has set a model for clean India which can aid the dream of an “open defecation-free India” becoming a reality in 2019.
With this goal in mind, useful lessons can be learnt and implemented from the experiences of Sulabh International, which has vast experience on building individual and public toilets, in developing appropriate sanitation technology and accordingly scaling them up nationwide, he said.
Giving an overview of the background and history of sanitation movement in the country and explaining the challenges ahead, Mr. Pathak, a recipient of several awards for his work on sanitation and safe water, said appropriate and sustainable sanitation technology play a key role for the success of Swachh Bharat Mission. Toilets for every family top the agenda of the mission. Mr. Pathak, who has taken the culture of community toilets to the distant Kabul, said his organisation had introduced two pit eco compost toilet, purified drinking water, effluent treatment plant and biogas plant.
According to Mr. Pathak, nearly 12 crore toilets are required to be built in the country by 2019 to realize the vision of the mission and Sulabh is playing an important role in realising the agenda.