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Swachh Bharat Abhiyan: Boost UN Sustainable Development Goals

Swachh Bharat Abhiyan: Boost UN Sustainable Development Goals

India on Thursday joined the rest of the world in flagging World Toilet Day (WTD), citing its own Swach Bharat Abhiyan as the flagship that can help to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and mitigate climate change.

“On World Toilet Day, India strengthens its resolve of #Toilet4All. The last few years have seen an unparalleled achievement of providing hygienic toilets to crores of Indians. It has brought tremendous health benefits along with dignity, especially to our Nari Shakti,” Prime Minister Modi tweeted.

World Toilet Day celebrated on November 19 raises awareness for 4.2 billion people worldwide who are living without access to safely
managed sanitation. It is a call to action to tackle the global sanitation crisis and achieve  SDG goal on water and sanitation by 2030.

The United Nations has designated  "Sustainable sanitation and climate change" as the theme for this year’s WTD.

“Climate change is accelerating. Flood, drought, and rising sea levels are threatening sanitation systems – from toilets to septic tanks to treatment plants. Floodwater can contaminate wells used for drinking water or flooding might damage toilets and spread human waste into communities and food crops, causing deadly and chronic diseases,” says a UN statement, showcasing the link between sanitation and climate

The Swach Bharat mission has so far been a roaring success. It has helped every household to achieve an annual gain $727,  says an international study published in World Development Journal.“Saving are associated such as reduced diarrhea incidence (55%) and from sanitation access time savings (45%),” says the UNICEF study titled ‘Comparison of the costs and benefits of the Clean India Mission’.

"Given India's sheer size and diversity, the enormity of the task should not be underestimated. In the year 2015, 59 percent of rural households and 12 percent of urban households in India did not have a sanitary toilet despite more than a decade of sanitation programs such as the Total  Sanitation Campaign and later Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan (sanitized India campaign), leaving 522 million people still practicing open defecation nationally," the paper said, which is authored by Guy Hutton, Nicolas Osbert, Sumeet Patil and Avni Kumar.

Significant time is spent in accessing sanitation outside the house by those who do not have or use a household toilet. The value of time savings for a household where all members use the toilet is on average $325 per household per year. The total investment cost of a latrine averaged $396 as a combination of government ($127) and household investments ($257 expenses and $11 for time). More than two-thirds (69.5%) of households received government subsidy with an average $183 support, and of these households, 63.8 per cent made their own investment to supplement the government subsidy, which averaged an additional $154.

The health benefits of the scheme have also been impressive."Substantial health benefits were due to the reductions in premature death, valued at US$ 249per year per household, the study concludes..