World Toilet Summit Mumbai

Every panchayat has sanitation sustainability plans: Fadnavis

Star cleaner: Actor Akshay Kumar at the inauguration of the 18th World Toilet Summit in Mumbai on Monday.   | Photo Credit: Vijay Bate

Across the world on November 19, people come together to recognise that sanitation is still a critical need that remains unfulfilled. An estimated 732 million Indians do not have access to clean, safe and reliable toilets, while inadequate sanitation is estimated to cause 2,80,000 deaths worldwide annually, according to the World Health Organisation.

“In 2001, when we started off, the subject of toilets was very embarrassing. People laughed, the media did not understand. But we kept working. In 2013, UN adopted November 19 as World Toilet Day. The events being held across the world today show that awareness has increased a lot,” said Jack Sim, founder, World Toilet Organisation (WTO).

Mr. Sim was speaking at the 18th edition of World Toilet Summit, inaugurated in Mumbai on Monday. This is the third time India is hosting the summit and this time, the theme was, ‘Can the world be Open Defecation Free by 2030.’ The summit will end on Tuesday.

WTO, the host of the Mumbai event, is a global non-profit that has been working towards reducing the gap between the government, corporate organisations and civil society.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis could not attend the summit, but said, in his video message, “Maharashtra has been declared open-defecation-free (ODF). Around 28 cities (in the State) are in the top 100 of the Swachh Survekshan list. But Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is a mass movement. After becoming ODF, we have given plans of sustainability to every village panchayat, encouraging them by giving awards.”

Hiranya Borah, deputy director general, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, received the World Toilet Peace Prize on behalf of the government. Mr. Borah said 96.17% of India is ODF.

Swami Chidanand Saraswati, president, Parmarth Niketan Ashram, was given the Hall of Fame award. “In India, people believe that the temple should be inside the house while the toilet should be outside. But we brought together faith leaders because faith moves people. Much change has happened in the last five years,” he said.

Jin Montesano, chief public affairs officer, LIXIL group, the main summit host, said the sanitation economy in India is set to double at an estimated $62 billion by 2021. “The Indian government has achieved significant success making India among the top 10 nations to eliminate open defecation. The private sector needs to play a larger role now,” Ms. Montesano said. “Through toilet acceleration projects, we put small start-ups in touch with large corporations for innovation in the field of sanitation.”

There were two panel discussions on ‘Swachh Bharat Mission: cleanliness of mind, action, thoughts and environment’ and ‘tackling sanitation needs: multi-stakeholder and multi-sectoral approaches.’

The summit’s second day will also have panel discussions and a workshop.

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Printable version | Jun 25, 2021 6:23:17 PM |

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