Published On: Sat, Jul 16th, 2016

Kerala to become an ODF State by Nov 2016

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11709629_882591398496341_612244189927356870_nNew Delhi: The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation has organized a two day National Workshop on Solid and Liquid Waste Management (SLWM) under Swachh Bharat Mission on July 15th, 16th, 2016. The workshop was inaugurated by Minister of State for Drinking Water & Sanitation, Shri Ramesh Jigajinagi. In his inaugural address, Shri Jigajinagi said that since the day that the Prime Minister gave the Swachh Bharat call to the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort, there has been a national awakening for this noble task. It may be a difficult target, he said, but is not impossible if we all work with a clear focus, right intention and smart strategies.

Speaking on the subject of SLWM, he said that segregation, collection, treatment and disposal of garbage should preferably be done in a decentralized manner. He appreciated the fact that most villages of Kerala are doing this sustainably through vermin composting, biogas plants, soak pits, and water treatment practices, which can be an example for replication in many other States of the country.

Speaking at the inauguration, the Minister of Local Self Governments, Dr KT Jaleel, Government of Kerala, underscored the importance of effective waste management for health, economic progress and development of any nation. He said that the State is working hard on developing and implementing decentralized waste management models using low cost technologies. He also underlined the role of citizen participation in waste management and said that Kerala has adopted the slogan “My Waste is My Responsibility” as an important means to create public awareness.

He also declared in his address that Kerala has taken up the Open Defecation Free (ODF) challenge and is aiming to become India’s second ODF State (after Sikkim) by November 1, 2016.

The Secretary, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Shri Parameswaran Iyer, spoke about waste management in the context of Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin), saying that household sanitation, practiced safely, and freedom from open defecation are the main focus areas under the programme. He said that the aim of the workshop was:

· To share successful national and international models for effective SLWM

· To arrive at a system to reflect the SLWM initiatives in the SBM Management Information System (MIS)

· To ultimately move towards a Village Swachhta Index (VSI) which will be the national metric to measure cleanliness of Indian villages in objective terms. Clean village is broadly defined as a village which:

o is Open Defecation Free

o has effective Solid and Liquid Waste Management

o has Visual Cleanliness

Speaking on the status of SLWM in Kerala, Shri SM Vijayanand, Chief Secretary of Kerala, said that the State has the highest level of rural consumption, which means that it is one of the largest generators of rural waste. Enumerating the unique challenges faced by the State Government, he said, that the State has a highest density of population and high rural labour cost.

But, he also added, that there are a number of unique strengths of the State, particularly its strong Gram Panchayats, the Self Help Group ecosystem, rising public awareness regarding waste due to spread of new-generation communicable diseases and ill-effects of waste on the tourism in the State, and an activist media. He said that these strengths have led to a rich legacy of community efforts, a strong NGO sector, technological progress, and a strengthened capacity building system.

Later in the day, presentations were made by national and international experts sharing successful models across the country and world. Dr. K Vasuki, Executive Director, Suchitwa Mission, Kerala spoke about the Green Protocol in the State under which all government events and offices are free from use of disposable plastic and paper items and there is a strong focus on minimizing wastage. She also spoke about the government subsidy given for home composting systems for wet waste management at household level, adding that a number of citizens were taking up composting without availing subsidies simply to make natural compost to grow organic vegetables in their kitchen gardens.

Officers from many other States, including Punjab, Sikkim, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Haryana also shared successful local models for SLWM. Prof Heinz-Peter Mang from the University of Science and Technology, Beijing, Mr Shafick Hoosain from the World Bank shared international examples and models for the same.

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