National

Campaign for one million soak pits in 100 days

“Grey water can be safely and inexpensively filtered through a soak pit.” File photo for representation.

“Grey water can be safely and inexpensively filtered through a soak pit.” File photo for representation.

The Jal Shakti Ministry has launched a campaign to create a million soak pits in villages across the country over the next 100 days, to help manage grey water and prevent the clogging of water bodies. Although the Central government does not have any comprehensive estimate of the total number of soak pits needed countrywide, the States have been asked to develop their own targets.

“The household or community soak pit is the simplest solution for grey water management,” explained additional secretary Arun Baroka, who heads flagship Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). “With modernisation, people feel that the only solution is to have drains for waste water, which is then dumped in a common village pond. However, that is not the best solution for most villages which are generally dry, where grey water can be safely and inexpensively filtered through a soak pit,” he said. A household soak pit could be constructed for about ₹3000-5000 in most cases, he noted.

The Swachh Bharat Mission’s first phase was to achieve open defecation free (ODF) status by constructing a toilet in every rural household and persuading all villagers to use it. The second phase, termed ODF+ aims to sustain and extend these sanitation gains by focussing on solid and liquid waste management.

‘Sujalam’ campaign

Unlike the toilet construction phase, however, where targets were uniform across the country, the second phase has required a more nuanced approach. In a letter to the States regarding the launch of the 100-day ‘Sujalam’ campaign on Wednesday, Mr. Baroka asked them to “develop ambitious and measurable targets” of their own.

In regions such as Punjab where the ground water table was high, the soak pit would not be a viable solution. Thus, there was no nationwide estimate of the number of soak pits required. A dashboard would be made public within the next two weeks to enable proper monitoring of ODF+ work, he stated.

Besides constructing soak pits, the States have been asked to use the campaign period to construct toilets in new households and retrofit old toilets as needed. Apart from the SBM funds, the Fifteenth Finance Commission grants and MGNREGA funds could also be used, suggested Mr. Baroka.


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Printable version | Jun 15, 2022 5:05:02 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/1-million-soak-pits-to-manage-grey-water-in-next-100-days-jal-shakti-campaign/article36101335.ece