Home » Subject » Essay » Can India can become Open Defecation free by 2019, if so how?

Nothing in this world is too big to achieve, it just needed a continuous and dedicated approach toward our aim. Likewise an open defecation free India is not a far-fetched dream, it certainly can become reality by 2019 if we pledge for so. The need of the hour is that the players involved in this mission should play their role effectively. The people of this Nation feel it as their duty to keep our nation clean and the government should assist them in doing their duty. The nation which vouches for gender equality should provide all its women the right to answer their natural nature's call in dignified way. Since ours is a huge country of varying culture and geography, the mission to have an open defecation free India in short time period of 2 years will be ineffective without aid of Technology. That means with the help of technology we would be able to provide efficient toilet in varied geographical regions. Due to the practice of open defecation we are even losing our revered rivers which ultimately question our disease free, long and healthy life. There are so many challenges to achieve this goal but it can be easily achieved if we make the agenda of open defecation free India by 2019 a mass movement.

There was time when our whole Nation was trying to get rid of cruel British government, at that time Gandhiji said, "Sanitation is more important than political freedom". This statement of Gandhiji makes every Indian to think over, what is so important in sanitation, in front of which our freedom became insignificant. Then only the crux of Gandhiji statement can get understood, according to which, what would we do of that freedom where we are not civilized enough to have proper sanitation facility, what would we do of that freedom where we will not remain healthy due to our improper sanitation activity, what would we do of that freedom where we cannot even protect the dignity of our women during their nature's call. Then it is better first to have proper sanitation habit and facility, only after that we would be able to understand and use our freedom in a right way. Today even after 70 years of Independence only around 39% of our population have access to safe sanitation facilities, which means we are still unable to tap the full potential of our freedom.

Then the question arises how we can provide proper sanitation facilities to our population. So, the answer to this is that, it is not one man job, it is the duty of whole 125 crore people as in the words of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, "Every citizen of India must remember that he is an Indian and he has every right in this country with certain duties." There is emphasis on word "duties", we the people take our citizenship of India for granted and just forget our duties towards it. This duty does not always imply to the soldier who laid their life in the name of nation. This duty towards Nation belongs to all whosoever is the citizen of India. So it is our duty at individual capacity to make our nation clean and to abstain from defecating in open. Most of us even being financially capable of building toilet but still due to their habits they used to defecate in open. But if someone who is incapable of building toilet there should be sufficient grant or aid from the government to build toilet. Our governments have launched various programs from National sanitation programme of 1980s to Swachh Bharat Mission which was launched in 2nd October 2014. Under these programs sufficient financial and technological aid is being provided by the government to build effective toilet in varied geographical area of our nation.

It is a fact of concerned that geography of our nation comes to the hindrance of our mission. The toilet which is effective in the plane reason of Central India will not be effective in hilly region of Northern India. Regions having high water level needs other kind of toilet and regions affected of water scarcity needs another. The answer to such problem comes with the innovative ideas and technologies. For hilly area where impervious rocks are found Eco- toilets can be used. For regions having high ground water level twin-pit technology can be used which will give long cycle of functional toilet along with smell free nutrient manure. For the regions of water scarcity the design of toilet seat is of concern which is capable of flushing the stool with 1ltr or 1.5ltr of water. There are many such innovative ideas for varying situation. Swachhathon 1.0 is swachhta hackathon was organised by Ministry of drinking water and sanitation to crowdsource innovative ideas to solve the sanitation related problems including hygiene being faced by the country and also to include the ideas to develop sustainable solutions.

It is being estimated that with proper sanitation facility, an Indian family on an average would be able to save around ₹50,000 per year which would have spent on disease caused by open defecation. It is not just only we humans are affected by our own habit, it is sometime our nature too pay for this habit of ours. Our revered river Ganga which is known for its life giving water is now at the stage where it is struggling for its own life. The Ganga River which passes through 66 districts across 5 states is being heavily affected by E-Coli bacteria due to habit of people defecating in Gangatic plains. Now the life giving water of river Ganga has turned into life-threatening which itself brings misfortune for us.

But now its seems things are changing fast since when safe sanitation become mass agenda under Swachh Bharat Mission which aims at making open defecation free India by 2019 for which various steps has been already taken. According to study at present 69% of our population have access to safe sanitation which was 39% till 2014. 4484 villages through which Ganga river passes have been declared open defecation free. Peoples are being promoted for opting save sanitation methods through financial support, catchy slogans, catchy advertisement and the most important in order to bring the behavioural change the habit related to safe sanitation are linked with pride and prestige, for example - toilet is being called as "Izzat ghar" which persuade the rigid section of society to change their habit for safe sanitation. Around 4.8 crore toilet have been built under Swachh Bharat mission and there is proper mechanism to tackle slip back in this mission. With these steps it seems making India open defecation free by 2019 is not a far-fetched idea.

- Abhilash Kumar