Making a way ahead for Clean Water and Sanitation
As I begin to express my views on an extremely serious topic of clean water and sanitation, I would like to quote the exact words of the former president of The United States Of America, Mr. Barack Obama, that stands absolutely true in my knowledge.
‘Without regard to whether someplace is wealthy or poor, everybody should have the chance at clean air and clean water'.
Clean water and sanitation, according to me, are two things that an individual can’t live without in order to sustain a healthy life. Therefore, these two things should be considered more or less like non-withdrawable human rights granted to all individuals regardless of their wealth status, social standard, ethnicity, gender, or any other form of discriminatory barriers.
CHALLENGES TO COPE UP
As time is passing and population levels are expected to rise beyond expectations in the coming years, securing access to abundant and clean water is becoming challenging. The increase in pollution levels and the deteriorating quality of water due to the mixing of harmful substances in it adds up to the problem. What we, as collective and common citizens of this planet fail to realize is that water is not just a simple component, but it's one of the five crucial elements that the Earth is made up of. This scientifically proven fact in itself makes it clear for us to understand that the whole functioning mechanism of our planet would suffer badly if we keep on messing up with the primary elements in the name of advancement and technological development.
I believe that it is absolutely correct to encourage technological advancement for the betterment of the human race but at the same time, we must give the idea of sustainable development wings, so that we don’t mess up the very act of existing for the upcoming generations.
Fight for maintenance of the quality of water
Agriculture and industry are two of the rapidly growing, changing, and transforming fields of economic growth in our country. However, it’s, unfortunately, true to believe that a major portion of the blame for the deteriorating water quality is to be put on these two industries.
This can be rightly proved by the given snippet of information:
Industries in India manufacture commodities in bulk which is beneficial for the country’s economic growth. However, manufacturing tons of waste and disposing of it in freshwater lakes is a heavy problem to look into.
The waste generated by factories and industries is infused with toxic substances like harmful chemicals, mercury remains, etc. which contaminates the clean water.
Furthermore, laborers who are hired to work in factories and industries manage to establish their places of residence around their places of work only. These people then use clean river water to wash clothes, defecate and bathe. which further deteriorates the quality of water.
Also, the increment in the usage of insecticides, pesticides, fertilizers, and such chemicals get washed away and then end up ruining the good quality water.
Moving past the topic of clean water, I would now like to shed some light on the subject of sanitation.
As defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO), Sanitation refers to public health conditions related to clean drinking water and adequate treatment and disposal of human excreta and sewage.
Here is some statistical data picturising the past, present, and predictable future in the field of sanitation for our nation-
As per the reports of various surveys conducted on domestic and national levels in the country, about 45.36% had access to clean sanitation facilities in combined rural and urban areas as of the time of independence.
These numbers substantially increased to 58.33% in the late ’90s.
Furthermore, the numbers have now increased to be somewhat around 77.89% as of 2010-2011.
If we consider the scenario of sanitation in our country, drastic progress has been made since the late ’90s until now.
Various governmental and non-governmental projects aim to execute the idea of clean, neat, and abundant sanitation techniques by the making of public toilets, sewage systems, etc. Poverty has drowned people in such tough circumstances that they barely afford to arrange basic sanitation facilities for them to use, which would instill good health conditions amongst individuals.
For years now, India has been working hard to fix the lack of sanitation programs by promoting the establishment of toilets all over the country, especially in rural areas.
FIGHT AGAINST OPEN DEFECATION
Open defecation is when human feces are disposed of in the fields, forests, bushes, open bodies of water, beaches, and other open spaces.
As per the surveys conducted which recorded the views of local Indian citizens residing in rural and semi-urban areas, they preferred defecating openly rather than using toilets because of the lack of readily available toilet spaces and bathrooms. Also, they try to keep up with their traditional practices as stated by them.
The governments working at central, state, and local levels have rightly understood the importance of fighting against the practice of open defecation. Hence, thousands of public toilets were built at the time of The Swachh Bharat Mission, in order to put an end to this issue that contributes majorly to destroying the sanitation levels of our nation.
The United Nations, an apex organization that works for global peace and betterment rightly understands the significance of promoting sustainable sanitation and henceforth, in 2015 when the organization claimed to work on a set of 17 sustainable development goals and achieve the decided goals by the target year of 2030, goal 6 focused on ensuring equal accessibility to clean water and decent sanitation services to global citizens.
SANITATION AMONGST WOMEN
In my opinion, basic sanitation facilities must be granted to everyone around the country under the supervision of governmental bodies. Specifically, sanitation facilities for females are extremely crucial to be induced.
Understanding the significance of menstrual hygiene in females and associating it with women’s overall health as well as reproductive health is crucial for us to focus upon.
Significant steps to inculcate the idea and awareness of menstrual hygiene and sanitation amongst women might include:
Initiating awareness drives around our places of residence and local areas
Conducting one-to-one talk sessions with females living in the local areas around our homes can be highly beneficial in making them realize what has been going wrong and how it can be corrected. Solving their doubts, confusions, and questions regarding making such changes in their lifestyle will give them assurance and confidence in the ways that would change the world for all.
Contributing as a social worker and public volunteer
Organizing distribution drives to supply the material needed to maintain decent hygiene and cleanliness will help in spreading awareness along with taking a step ahead towards execution. Commodities like soaps, handwashes, sanitary napkins, etc. can be distributed along with a detailed explanation on how to use these items and telling people the importance of doing the needful.
TO SUM UP
Clean water and sanitation should be considered as the key conditions to look after in order to strengthen citizens’ health and lifestyle in the long run. All I know is, such matters of great concern need collective attention, effort, and sincerity to work on, in order to transform the country for good.