UNICEF report: Modi-led Swachh Bharat Abhiyan reduced water contamination in India
On World Environment Day, UNICEF lauded the efforts of Narendra Modi’s pan India flagship sanitation scheme Swachh Bharat Abhiyan for helping reduce ground water contamination in several Indian villages. This was after a study based on 725 samples of ground reports from three states – Bihar, Odisha and West Bengal – suggested that villages not free of open defecation were 11.25 times more likely to have their groundwater sources contaminated with faecal matters as compared to open defecation free villages (ODF).
Minister of newly created Jal Shakti Ministry Gajendra Singh Shekhawat released a UNICEF report showing that groundwater is 12.7 times less likely to be contaminated in ODF areas.
Another study conducted by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation said that the drive mobilised around Rs 23,000 crore for creating sanitation awareness in rural areas. The report comes when the government is on the verge of its October 2019 deadline. The Drinking Water and Sanitation (DWS) secretary Parameswaran Iyer furnishing valuable information along with a piece of advice said, “Having water resources under the same roof as DWS will allow greater coordination. Think of them as the supply side, while we focus on a service delivery side.”
However, the study suggests that the system for solid and liquid waste management needs to be more emphasised to prevent faecal contamination in the environment.