“When people are emotional about something; when they believe in what they do, they get involved and interested and that’s when change happens,” said versatile actor and founder of Paani Foundation, Mr. Aamir Khan.
Speaking at the ODF Sustainability Workshop organized by the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation (DDWS), Ministry of Jal Shakti, in the national capital on 12th January, 2020, he said that for real change to occur, we have to change ourselves first and the hearts of those around us.
On waste management which is an integral part of ODF Plus activities, “Animals in the jungle do not create waste; waste is created by man and we should clean up our waste,” the actor said.
Giving away the Swachhata Darpan Awards 2019 to the best performing districts on key swachhata parameters, he was keen to hear about the challenges faced in the implementation of the Swachh Bharat Mission and how district officials overcame them.
The awardees included East Godavari (Andhra Pradesh), West Kameng (Arunachal Pradesh), Bemtara (Chhattisgarh), Diu (Daman and Diu), Panipat (Haryana), Vadodara (Gujarat), Kolhapur (Maharashtra), Moga (Punjab), East Sikkim (Sikkim) and Peddapalli (Telangana). Four districts – Dibrugarh (Assam), Sirmaur (Himachal Pradesh), Indore (Madhya Pradesh) and Puri (Odisha) – were also awarded for innovations and initiatives for Plastic Waste Management.
Shri Aamir Khan then interacted with the gathering of Collectors, DDCs, CDOs and other officials from selected states. He lauded the work done at the grassroots by the officials and shared his experience with initiatives made by Paani Foundation in the area of water conservation. The gathered officials shared best practices from their districts for promoting ODF Sustainability goals and explored areas for future initiatives with the celebrated actor.
Addressing the gathering, Secretary DDWS, Shri Parameswaran Iyer, congratulated state representatives for their commendable work and leadership in improving sanitation access in rural areas in the past five years leading to ODF declaration of India on 2nd October 2019 under Swachh Bharat Mission – Grameen (SBM-G). He emphasized the need to keep the momentum going and ensure that any gaps which may have been left on the ground must be identified and addressed. He said that the SBM-G must ensure that no one is left behind and the objectives of the programme are now moving forward with overall cleanliness in villages with solid and liquid waste management (SLWM).
The workshop included presentations by two District Collectors on key themes for ODF Sustainability: Information, Education and Communication (IEC); and Community Toilets.
District Collector, Peddapalli, presented on the role of IEC towards promoting ODF Plus and Sustainability. The presentation highlighted important IEC initiatives in the district like Mana Swachhata, Mana Gouravam under which screening of popular SBM-G films along with cultural events is done across Gram Panchayats in Peddapalli. District Collector, Muzaffarpur, presented innovative initiatives taken by the district administration for the construction of Community Toilets to address any households which may be left behind in the access to household toilet, and to ensure universal sanitation access in the district.