With a view to dissuading people from defecating in the open, particularly when they have access to toilets; and stopping them from dumping garbage on street corners or on the wayside, the district administration of Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh has converted all those spots into Vilopit kuda ghars (translated – a house for garbage disposal).
Such enclosures are fenced and adorned with flowering shrubs and plants. Outside it are notices with inscriptions saying, “This is the property of the gram panchayat. Littering is illegal and action will be taken against anyone committing such an offence.”
According to the District Magistrate, Ghaziabad, Ms. Ritu Maheswari, there are about 50 points among the gram panchayats (GPs) where the pradhans and GP secretaries have taken charge of such patches of land where open defecation was common and garbage dumped and they had made them into beautiful parks with well manicured lawns and boundary walls. In some of them, there are benches for people to sit, paths for people to take a stroll; and even a playground for the little ones. Setting up of 50 additional vilopit kuda ghars is in progress.
The message to the community is clear as they trigger them into adopting safe sanitation practices and segregating waste at their homes.
Ghaziabad is the third district in the State to have achieved open defecation free (ODF) status in August 2017. Commenting on the sustainability, “There are few cases of open defecation these days. The ODF message has certainly percolated down to the all people,” the DM said.
As far as post ODF activities are concerned, the district administration has been concentrating on improving overall sanitation infrastructure in schools, anganwadis and panchayat offices. GPs are also encouraged to implement solid and liquid waste management activities which include collection of household waste, segregation at source, recycling and composting. In addition, all schools and anganwadis have been renovated, and their sanitation facilities improved. Garbage bins have been placed in all public spaces of villages.
Community participation is integral to any campaign carried out by the district administration. Recently, a village community protested vehemently against garbage being dumped in their vicinity by an urban body. The protest was led by a motivated pradhan, a clear indication of changed attitudes towards sanitation.
Swachhagrahis: Earlier, as many as 191 swachhagrahis were deputed for each of the 191 villages and they have been trained in sanitation related work at development block level. For the best 70 swachhagrahis among them, a 5-day CAS (community approach to sanitation) was organized by the state team; and well-performing swachhagrahis were given ownership of villages for making them ODF. Repeated re-orientation is given to them from time to time and they are given incentives as per SBM-G guidelines. Other than ensuring toilet usage, visiting homes for IPC and morning and evening followup; mobilization and publicity work is done by them.
ODF Verification: After construction of toilets in gram panchayats, villages have been declared ODF by their village panchayats. On the basis of the ODF certificates received from gram panchayats, 74 nodal officers have verified toilets built in those villages. Using that report, a commissioner’s team carried out physical verification of toilets built. Thereafter, all ODF villages were verified 100% at block level, while random 28 villages were verified at state level.
Dysfunctional toilets: In order to convert dysfunctional toilets into functional ones, the village heads along with panchayat secretaries have created a village fund and triggered a few families on the need to put them back into use. A survey identified 1166 dysfunctional toilets and efforts are being made to convert them into functional ones.