Sanitation | Centre for Science and Environment


Back to toilet school

Last August 15, speaking from the ramparts of the Red Fort, the prime minister made a very important announcement—his government would ensure “there is no school in India without separate toilets for boys and girls” by the next Independence Day. Exactly one year later, the Ministry of Human Resource Development has announced that this target has been met and that some 417,000 toilets have been built in 261,000 schools.

High risk

Problem: Tall buildings risky in high seismic zones; Status: Hill-stations are getting concretised and growing vertically; Challenge: Use local construction material; regulate traffic


When will Punna Bai get a toilet?

Of the one billion people that defecate in the open in the world, 638 million are found in India alone. In Badasilonia, a Nirmal Gram village, in Jhabua district of Madhya Pradesh, we inspected the toilet of Punna bai. The toilet or “latrine” as it is called, had only the four walls of the outer structure. On the opposite side of the road, we visited the house of the sarpanch. His toilet was completely and properly built and had an additional twin room for bathing. He also had a water storage tank close to the toilet.

School admissions: a weighty debate

Like forests, tigers, minerals and groundwater, schools too, will now be meticulously ‘mapped’ by government agencies. The purpose is to find out if there are enough good ones around to cater to thousands of aspiring toddlers (looking for nursery admissions, of course!). Focus, in this case, will be rivetted on our cities, which are bursting in the seams. In fact, the Delhi administration has already made a public announcement, promising its citizens a secondary school, offering ‘quality education’ in every locality. A wise move by a very savvy Chief Minister. Why?

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