Sanitation experts here on Wednesday laid emphasis on bringing about a sustained behaviour change in the local communities to achieve the target of making the villages, towns and districts Open Defecation Free (ODF) in Rajasthan. The harmful impacts of open defecation on people’s health and children's nutrition should be brought to their notice, they said.
The occasion was the State-level inauguration of “Swachhta Hi Sewa: Swachh Yuva Diwas” on the Rajasthan University campus here. State Rural Development Minister Rajendra Rathore said six districts had so far been declared open defecation free, while 10 more would be given the ODF status by December this year.
‘Onus on youth’
“Of the 9,851 village panchayats in the State, 6,375 have been declared open defecation free,” Mr. Rathore said. The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan would succeed if the youth adopted it as a movement, he added.
UNICEF-Rajasthan chief Isabelle Bardem said that against the access of 27.3% households to sanitary toilets in 2012 in the State, 87% households had sanitary toilets built in their premises till this month. “Stopping open defecation will restore women's dignity and protect them against harassment and sexual offences,” she said.
A massive rally of the university and college students was organised on the campus and the theatre artistes staged a presentation on the community-led total sanitation process.
The event was organised jointly by UNICEF and the university's Centre for Mass Communication.