After the Modi government’s initial goal to make urban India open defecation free (ODF) along with 100 per cent scientific solid waste management, the government is now planning to tap other aspects under the Swachh Bharat mission. In its vision for the next phase of the mission, the government said that it aims to ensure safe containment, transportation, disposal of faecal sludge, and septage from toilets, according to the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs. It added that the treatment of all wastewater before discharging into water bodies, and their maximum possible re-use will also be the government’s priority.
Since its launch in 2014, Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban (SBM-U) has made significant progress in the area of both sanitation and solid waste management. 4,324 urban local bodies have been declared Open Defecation Free, which has been made possible through the construction of more than 66 lakhs individual household toilets and over 6 lakhs community/ public toilets, far exceeding the Mission’s targets, the statement highlighted. Additionally, over 59,900 toilets across over 2900 cities have been made live on Google Maps, it added.
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Also, in the area of solid waste management, 96 per cent of wards have complete door-to door collection while 66 per cent of the total waste generated is being processed, which is a jump of nearly 4 times over 2014 levels of 18% processing. In further developments, the government underlined that a total of 6 cities (Indore, Ambikapur, Navi Mumbai, Surat, Rajkot, and Mysuru) have been rated as 5-star cities, 86 cities as 3-Star, and 64 cities as 1-Star, as per MoHUA’s Star Rating Protocol for Garbage Free Cities.
Minister of Housing & Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri said that more than five years ago, the Prime Minister had seen a dream and today we feel immensely proud and humbled to see how every citizen of urban India have come together to make that dream a tangible reality. The minister also showed his concern towards the safety of sanitation workers and frontline warriors and assured that the provision of adequate safety gear and mechanised equipment to all sanitation workers will be paid maximum attention in the next phase of the mission.