More than 450 SBM-G officials from districts across the country participated in a webinar on Faecal Sludge Management (FSM) in rural areas. The workshop provided an overview of policy, strategy, funding, and learning experiences of FSM.
Welcoming the participants, Additional Secretary, Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation (DDWS), Mr. Arun Baroka spoke of the need and requirements for FSM – an integral component of Swachh Bharat Mission Grameen (SBM-G) Phase II.
Mr. V.K. Madhavan, Chief Executive, WaterAid India dwelt at length about the organisation’s journey in rural FSM, sharing practical experiences of their planning and implementation experience in four States. His presentation included details of both In-situ and Ex-situ Treatment Options.
FSM is a critical element towards achieving ODF Plus. Districts can choose from a variety of readily available technical options, depending on their population size, land available and finance available and customise a model to suit them, said Mr. Arumugam Kalimuthu, Programme Director, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Institute (WASH Institute). Mobile Septage Unit and Sep Guard are among the innovative treatment option currently available, he added.
Praveen Nagaraja from WASH Institute provided an overview of disposal options such as Trenching and Geo Bags; and treatment options such as Planted Drying Beds and Anaerobic Digestion.
In his address, Mr. Abhinav Akhilesh, Director, Infrastructure, Government and Health (IGH), KPMG in India, said that a lot of work has been done in Faecal Sludge Management in urban areas and it would be wise to see what mechanisms could be leveraged for rural areas. “Co-treatment with urban FSTPs is a rapid treatment solution,” he added.
Mr. Sujoy Mojumdar, a WASH Specialist of UNICEF India, spoke UNICEF’s FSM projects in Kerala and Odisha. He called for effective IEC and capacity building as a part of social and behaviour change communication (SBCC), to influence toilet use and FSM practices at the household level.
Secretary DDWS, Mr. Parameswaran Iyer in his closing remarks spoke of the importance of FSM, adding that one size does not fit all. He spoke of the need to develop an updated FSTP Manual, IEC products, capacity building and put in place a panel of experts to guide districts in the implementation of FSM projects.
The discussion ended with a question and answer session and the way forward.