Sanitation means the facilities and services enabling the safe collection & disposal of wastes- sewage, garbage, wastewater etc.
Hygiene means conditions & practices necessary to maintain health and prevent diseases through cleanliness. Aristotle used the Greek adjective of hygiene as a noun to imply “health”.
Sanitation maintains the hygienic conditions.
In Std-VI, we were introduced to the Indus Valley Civilization that flourished between 2500 BC and 1500 B.C. while the rest of the world was at a primitive stage. Really proud about ancient India’s highly-developed remarkable hydraulic engineering, water supply, sanitation devices and drainage system. The world's earliest known system of flush toilets existed in many homes, and the drains of the bathrooms were connected to the common sewerage pipe.
The street-drains along the sides of streets were covered with stone-slabs. The cities maintained high hygiene-standards & remained neat and clean as the drains and channels were cleaned regularly. The Great Bath of Mohenjodaro was awe-inspiring. Bathing was an act of religious duty.
|Indus Valley Civilization; Harappan city- Dholavira in Kutch, India; Source: Archaeological Survey of India|
In October 2014, a 5000 year old Harappan stepwell, that’s bigger than Mohenjodaro’s Great Bath, has been found in one of the largest Harappan cities, Dholavira, in Kutch, Gujarat, India.
As per the Archaeological survey of India (ASI), Dholavira “has yielded toilets, sullage jars, or sanitary pits. Drains have shown a good variety even included cut-stone ones and pottery pipes.”
Cleanliness is next to godliness.
How Sanitation & Hygiene Play A Role In Our Everyday Lives-
Sanitation & hygiene play an important role in our lives.
Many beliefs, actions, customs etc related to our life are traced to sanitation & hygiene. For example, some customs followed after the birth or death of a family-member viz. washing the clothes, bedsheets etc & cleaning & sanitizing the home may be explained to make the home germ-free.
We need to ensure our body’s personal hygiene apart from our home’s good sanitation.
We use soap for bathing, washing-powder/detergent for our clothes, disinfectants like sunlight etc…
We wash our feet and hands after reaching home from outside. We change our clothes too.
|Sanitation & Hygiene & I :)|
After the birth of my daughter, sanitation & hygiene attained greater significance. Thanks to my Doctor’s & Mom’s instructions, before handling my child, I always disinfected my hands and requested others to do so too. I also ensured proper washing of clothes & mopping of floors.
Sanitation & hygiene is of prime importance in my life!
How Good Hygiene And Sanitation Can Affect India At Large-
Sanitation & hygiene impact standard of living & public health.
Millennium Development Goals
They can help to attain Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) having a direct impact on reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, combating infectious diseases, ensuring environmental sustainability…
|Source: United Nations|
Human Development Index
A measure of socio-economic progress is the Human Development Index (HDI) computed annually by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The basic components of HDI are-
-standard of living,
-gender development index.
India’s HDI rank in 2014 was 135 amongst 187 countries. India is amongst the “medium development” countries.
How can we have a developed India unless we have a Swachh India with good standard of living?
From the Maslow’s Hierarachy of Needs, sanitation & hygiene are basic needs in the lower levels of the hierarchy. Once the Physiological & Safety needs are met, the next levels can be targetted.
|Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs ; Pic Source: Wikimedia Commons|
For India to be a developed country with great sanitation & hygiene, the basic needs need to be addressed first.
Many are yet to access-
- pipe-water for basic tasks like washing hands
- water-purification system or good quality drinking-water instead of contaminated water
- toilet facilities ; still practice open defecation
- proper sanitation, sewerage & drainage-systems
- soap, handwash and detergent for personal hygiene
Good infrastructure & habits are needed as “Prevention is better than the cure”.
“Don’t give a place to disease”- Auvaiyyar, Tamil saint-poetess
Advantages Of Better Sanitation & Hygiene-
Prevention of diseases & infections- A clean micro-environment will be in place with proper drainage of dirty-water & garbage, sewage & industrial waste disposal.
The simple act of washing hands with soap and water can empower people to save lives & help prevent 40% of diarrhoeal diseases & 30% of respiratory infections.
Lesser flies & mosquitoes- Open defecation, drains, stagnant water in ponds, piles of garbage, irresponsible dumping & disposal etc attract flies and mosquitoes that act as killers by spreading deadly diseases.
As per a World Health organization (WHO) report in today’s newspaper, “India has 12.8 crore suspected Malaria cases”. 111 crore Indians are at a risk of getting infected with Malaria. Then, there is the “deadly threat of the Malaria strain becoming resistant to the most advanced drugs available till date”.
Dignity of life & better life & quality of living- Women have to wait till it gets dark so that they can relieve themselves in the open. A World Bank Report states- “absence of toilet is one of the important contributors to malnutrition' & 'access to improved sanitation can increase cognition among children.”
Where there is mind, there ought to be toilet (“Jahan Soch, Wahan Sauchalaya”)
Reduced Rape-cases- There will be lesser rape incidents as women are attacked when they go to the field to answer nature’s call.
Education for all including girls- Girls drop out of schools owing to poor sanitation facilities. Proper sanitation can help education.
Fewer kids fall sick- Many families in India are Below-Poverty-Line (BPL). Many can’t afford food. Mid-Day Meals in schools attract children & impact education. However, while preparation, proper hygiene needs to be maintained & quality Mid-day-Meals need to be served to kids.
Better Health, Healthcare & IMMUNE INDIA
A healthy nation means better productivity and makes good economic sense as less man-hours & resources are wasted combating against germs & diseases. ‘A healthy mind dwells in a healthy body.’
Parents take pains to ensure that their child gets the best facilities & goes to a good school.
But, are we making an effort to ensure a good environment & sustainable living for our kids?
|The Choice is Our's- Dirty India or #SwachhIndia?|
Environment-Friendly Acts- Caring for the Environment & adopting green ways to ensure a good and clean environment aids sanitation & hygiene. Pollution is increasing at all levels- Air, Water, Ground… Increase in the use of plastic that’s not bio-degradable is a concern.
Use of polythene/plastic bags affects sanitation & hygiene-
1. Plastic is disposed with food-refuse. This is consumed by cows- they get choked & die or else yield poisonous milk… Entire food-chain is affected.
2. When polythene/garbage is burnt, toxic fumes are released & there’s air-pollution.
3. Plastic-bags block drains & cause artificial floods. They clog the sewers/drains and thus, there are water-logged roads. It’s a major problem during monsoons when a few mm of rain can flood entire cities…
4. Soil quality worsens as artificial and bio-degradable materials ruin its composition. Soil is our precious resource. Clean soil is the heritage of our ancestors. It provides us food and helps us live.
5. Water-pollution with toxic wastes like plastic causes fish and marine creatures' death.
6. Simply banning plastic is not enough. Enforcement and people’s willing participation is needed. NO water-logging was seen on the roads this year in one area that has banned plastic-bags, & where people get their own shopping-bags.
“Be the change you want to see in the world” -Gandhiji.
Gandhiji supported NO SPITTING & no urinating on the street and considered these to be offence.
|Newly constructed Subway in Kolkata - Dust-bins & DO NOT SPIT signs|
Swachh India is not just the task of the government alone. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives of companies and contribution of individuals will help create a Swachh India. I support the “Each one, teach one” concept in which we are all responsible to share our knowledge to uphold sanitation & hygiene.
May we all do this everyday and not just on Earth Day or World Environment Day.
Just like ‘Charity begins at home’, we must ensure that sanitation & hygiene start from the womb.
“It is our social responsibility as citizens of India to help fulfill Gandhiji’s vision of ‘Clean India’ by his 150th birth anniversary in 2019” – Narendra Modi
The Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana is commendable.
If every village, town & city becomes a model-place, then we can attain a Swachh India.
|Why no change in the face of our Village? ; Programme on NDTV India|
Swachh India information can be shared with the public through the print, radio, TV & Social Media, plays, street-shows, events like Cleanathon & NDTV Dettol Banega Swachh India bus - SwachhExpress etc. Change in attitudes, mindsets & behaviour can be brought about using all these.
As we have already seen from past success-stories like Elections 2014- Vote For India & India’s Pulse Polio programme, much can be attained by earnest leadership & Celebrity endorsement.
Shri Narendra Modi & Shri Amitabh Bachchan are role-models with many "followers".
WE-POWER will help us triumph as “Unity is Strength”.
Together you & I can help clean India’s entire breadth & length!
United we can ensure the success of Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan.
It needs enthu participation with basic common-sense/gyaan.
Policies are in place; implementation is what we need to chase.
Let’s mend our past ways & Clean India together for better days.
Swachh India is our dream that we must surely achieve together.
This is our India; if we don’t take care of her, then who’ll bother?
Vision-> Intention-> Discussion-> Information-> Mission-> Participation-> Action-> Implementation-> Solution-> Inspiration for Generations -> Continuation…
Now that we have the Swachh India vision, we need sincere intention, discussion, information, mission, participation, action and implementation for the clean & green solution that will serve as an inspiration for generations & help in continuation…
Written for - Swachh Bharat Abhiyan
Sanitation and hygiene begin at Home: write a blog post on how sanitation and hygiene play a role in your everyday lives. You can also cite instances on how good hygiene and sanitation can affect India at large!
The author is a PhD Researcher with an educational-background in Science, Computer-Application, Management & Humanities. These are her personal views.
Some of her socially relevant posts mentioned here-Vote For India With Social Mobile Apps
Blog To Feed A Child- Mid-Day Meals
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