Vaishali’s Sanitation Park showcases region specific water, sanitation and hygiene models

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A sanitation park in Vaishali District of Bihar was inaugurated on 4thFebruary, 2017.  The park showcases different types of toilet models, based on regional needs.  Consumers can choose the model best suited to their needs, based on the space and finance available to them.

Established in one of the Open Defecation Free (ODF) Wards of Bidupur Panchayat of Vaishali with technical support from UNICEF, the sanitation park also displays information and models about natural herb-based water purification and mass hand-washing.

“With the opening of the sanitation park, we hope to speed up the ODF campaign by promoting best suitable technology among the rural communities,” said Ms. Rachana Patil, District Magistrate of Vaishali. Owing to two rivers – Ganga and its tributary Gandak flowing by it, the Vaishali district administration has come up with the idea to develop various toilet technology options under one roof, considering the topography of the regions.

Earlier, the district administration had initiated ‘WOW Vaishali’ – a campaign on ‘War against Open Defecation and provision of safe water for all’ in accordance with the Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin (SBM-G).

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The park has three segments to display different live models on water, sanitation and hygiene. The first segment presents natural herb-based water purifier system, which is readily available in the local market. The households can adopt these simple techniques to purify household waste water for percolating safe water into the ground.

The second segment of the park demonstrates the importance of washing hands with soap at critical times which can help prevent the spread of the germs that cause diseases. The displayed model is suitable for mass handwashing activities by children at schools before mid-day meals. In this segment, the pictorial messages on handwashing stations focus on the importance of handwashing.

As for the third segment, the park displays eight different toilet models including single pit, twin leach pit with brick and ring separately, leach pit in less space, Ecosan, physically challenged friendly and Bio-Toilet models.  While some are low cost, others are suitable when there is a space constraint, and yet others are eco-friendly.

“We have carried out Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) training in the District and communities are aware of the need to build and use toilets. The models demonstrated in the park will help the communities to see and pick the most appropriate model suits them best,” Ms. Patil said, adding that after the opening of the park, communities of the nearby Panchayats have been eager to visit and make informed decisions for their toilets.

Vaishali, which is home to 288 panchayats of which nine panchayats are ODF, has a target to become ODF by end 2017. In addition, the district has been involved in the “Namami Gange” project that aims to make all the Gram Panchayats located on the banks of the Ganga ODF by March 2017.

The SBM (G) guidelines also emphasise on “encouraging cost effective and appropriate technologies for ecologically safe and sustainable sanitation”, and the Sanitation Park provides an opportunity to promote region-specific sanitation technologies among the rural communities.

In Sitamarhi District of Bihar, a more demonstrative Sanitation Park is being set-up by the District Administration with the technical support of UNICEF.  To be inaugurated soon, the Park will showcase 11 models of toilets, urinal and handwashing. The key function of the Sanitation Park is to transfer the skills of toilet construction to the local mason and communities at large.

This Park will also serve as a learning centre for promoting cost effective and appropriate technologies across the State. Availability of technological options at the local level and transfer of technical skills to the masons will ensure promotion of ecologically safe and sustainable sanitation in the journey of ODF Bihar.

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