Sunday, April 29, 2012

Only a Third of India's Nation has Access to Proper Sanitation - resulting in Human Excrement Seeping into Water Pools

A Environmentalist and Centre of Science (CSE) study revealed Gurgaon's residents were drinking and bathing with water contaminated by sewage

The nation's singular obsession with water and its absolute ignorance on sewage have been driving towns and cities into a pool of human excreta.

Environmentalist and Center of Science and Environment (CSE) director general Sunita Narain said this during her lecture on 'Excreta Matters', a two-volume tome that she and her team compiled after surveying the water management and waste disposal systems of 71 cities.

She said Indian cities have enough water sources, but far more attention was being paid to bringing potable water to the people than human waste disposal.

As a result, human excreta had been seeping into the water pools.

'After inheriting freshwater sources from our forefathers we've relentlessly committed a 'hydrocide' of our resources.

'What is alarming is our collective indifference to the rate at which the rivers were turning to drains or vanishing completely right in front of us,' Narain said.

'We are treating only about 22 per cent of the sewage that we generate,' veteran journalist B.G. Verghese, who chaired the lecture, said.

Cities and towns that depend on groundwater were drinking human waste because of the absence of proper sewage treatment and defecation in the open.

Only a third of the country's population has access to proper sanitation, a UN study says, corroborating the CSE's claim.

This was further highlighted when a woman in Madhya Pradesh refused to defecate in the open after she found soon after marriage in May last year that her husband's home didn't have a basic latrine.

Her bold step grabbed the headlines. Earlier, a similar CSE study revealed Gurgaon's residents were drinking, bathing and cooking with water contaminated with sewage.

As far as sewage goes, it is flushed out on to open lands, allowing it to seep into the ground and eventually mix with the groundwater that residents draw out of the borewells.

In 2008, residents of the plush Belvedere Park in DLF Phase III were forced to put up with a stream of sewage floating outside their main entrance. 

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