Articles

Print

Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM): The Way Forward for Goa

INTRODUCTION

The state of Goa with its high literacy, financial resources, an active civil society, and a strong private sector presence in the tourism, mining and other industries, is in an advantageous position to cover the existing gaps and achieve the desired SBM goals. A cleaner Goa thus requires a strong action plan with coordinated and determined efforts in the area of Information, Education & Communication, improvements in sanitation infrastructure and technology, improvements in septage management, the involvement of Non-Governmental Organisations and the private sector.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT

The state is in a particularly advantageous position on the socio-economic front with high per capita income (Rs 2,24,138) and a high level of literacy (87.4 per cent). Big leaps for behavioural change with a strong focus on 'change in psychology' are required along with stringent regulations of laws on environmental sanitation and solid waste management.

The state is currently working towards improving its sanitation infrastructure, in terms of increasing the number of toilets to cover the prevailing gap of 23.02 percent households that have no access to toilets. This indicates increasing the number of individual household toilets and community toilets where necessary; the efforts for which are already on, with 15.36 per cent increase in coverage since the launch of SBM in October 2014.

Aggressive efforts towards creating model villages and towns that boast of 100 per cent sanitised environment will be beneficial on various fronts, and also boost the tourism industry. The demand for sanitation infrastructure increases manifold during the peak tourist season in the state with high tourist arrivals (5.2 million in 2015). In addition to creating the basic sanitation infrastructure, the state also needs to focus on various other aspects of sanitation. Improvement in the design, and increase in the number of public toilets in the urban areas and tourist villages will improve the aesthetic environment, and thereby develop the image of the state. Introduction of eco-friendly toilets, such as the 'Namma Toilets' (an initiative of the Commissionerate of Municipal Administration, Tamil Nadu), not only saves water, but also energy due to its solar lighting. Mobile toilets, already available in some areas, need to be augmented in terms of its coverage, and they need to cater to the needs of tourists, socio-cultural and religious festivals and events, and other important areas such as market places, fishing jetties etc. for use on a daily basis. 26247 population live in Goa’s slums, which calls for urgent improvement in solid waste management and sanitation. Community toilets with improved ventilation and designs need to be introduced in the crowded slums that have obstacles in the construction of individual toilets. The success of the capital city of Panjim, with 95 per cent coverage of solid waste management and 98 per cent segregation of municipal waste, needs to be extended to the other thirteen municipal councils.

Coverage of the sewerage network is better in the urban areas, with Panjim having 61 per cent coverage. However, the treatment adequacy is 90 per cent, and the reuse and recycling of sewage is only 5 per cent. The state needs to thrust emphasis on increasing the coverage of sewer networks in the urban and rural areas, as well as introducing interventions for improved septage management and faecal sludge management. Some proactive municipal corporations in the country are already recycling faeces through bio gas, Decentralised Waste Water treatment (DEWATS), Waste to Energy programmes and composting toilets, for improving septage management.

The inclusion of Swachh Bharat as activities in Corporate Social Responsibility under Schedule VII of the Companies Act, 2013 from 24th October, 2014, provides tremendous opportunity for the involvement of the private sector. Determined efforts and cooperation of the public authorities, social development organisations and the private sector will help achieve the goals of 'Swachh Goa' by the year 2019.

Archives