New Delhi, Nov 19 (IANS) In the light of several incidents of the death of sewer workers, the Central government on Monday released Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for cleaning of sewers and septic tanks in order to ensure the workers' safety and prevent accidents.
Making the announcement on the World Toilet Day, Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Ramdas Athawale felicitated the winners of the Technology Challenge here and said that "innovative solutions emerging from initiatives such as this would enable safer management of human waste, without endangering human life".
Apart from Athawale, Lieutenant Governor of Delhi Anil Baijal, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs secretary Durga Shankar Mishra and dignitaries comprising Municipal Commissioners and senior officers from the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) cities attended the urban sanitation workshop.
The workshop on urban sanitation is aimed at addressing challenges in the urban sanitation space thereby enabling the participating states and cities to pro-actively implement viable, affordable and sustainable sanitation solutions for a Swachh Bharat, a statement released by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs said.
Speaking on the occasion, Baijal said that the feature of locating public toilets on Google Maps had the potential to solve a major issue of finding toilets that are clean, functional and usable.
While he acknowledged that the condition of several communities and public toilets provide scope for improvement, he was glad to note that there are more than 33,000 toilets across 800 cities already open to reviews from citizens on Google Maps.
Durga Shankar Mishra, on the other hand, touched upon the achievements of the Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban).
"Nineteen states and Union Territories are already Open Defecation Free (ODF) in their urban areas and more than 94 per cent of towns and cities already ODF," he said.
This, he asserted, has been achieved by the construction of nearly 60.53 lakh Individual Household Toilets, and 4.7 lakh public toilets under the Mission.
"In the area of solid waste management, approximately, 40 per cent of the total waste generated in the country is being processed, and 52 per cent of wards are practising source segregation," a government statement said.
An exhibition showcasing innovations in sanitation from across the country such as special toilets for women, senior citizens and third gender, 4-in-1 portable urinals for men, on-site faecal sludge, and septage management technologies, and the like was also organised on the sidelines of the workshop.