CSE helps Uttar Pradesh cities move beyond ODF status towards total sanitation for all

October 22, 2018

Sets up ‘Forum of Cities that Manage Septage’; releases analysis of faecal flows in select cities of the state 

Lucknow, October 22, 2018: Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), the New Delhi-based think tank, has joined hands with the Department of Urban Development, Government of Uttar Pradesh, to help the state’s urban local bodies plan their sanitation systems. At a state-level workshop on ‘Managing septage in the cities of Uttar Pradesh’ organized here today, CSE released its detailed analysis of faecal flows in selected AMRUT/Namami Gange towns and cities of the state. The event was presided over by CSE director general Sunita Narain and Manoj Singh, principal secretary, Department of Urban Development, Government of Uttar Pradesh. 

CSE also announced the launch of a ‘Forum of Cities that Manage Septage’, and released two web-based tools for planning and implementing effective faecal sludge management. 

Speaking on the occasion, Sunita Narain said: “How Uttar Pradesh manages sanitation in its cities and towns will impact and influence our larger national goals and the fact whether we can achieve them. Success here will inspire other states and can translate into success across the country. We are hoping that this collaborative initiative between CSE and the government of Uttar Pradesh will be a beacon for others.” 

Elaborating on the objectives behind the event, Suresh Rohilla, programme director, water and wastewater management, CSE, said: “The main aim of this workshop is to create a platform where the state administration and other relevant stakeholders can come together to discuss issues across the urban sanitation value chain -- containment, disposal, treatment, reuse-recycle and river pollution control.”  

Uttar Pradesh: The sanitation scenario

A sanitation snapshot of urban Uttar Pradesh shows that households with onsite sanitation systems like septic tanks (47 per cent) far exceed those with sewer connections (28 per cent). According to the State Annual Action Plan 2017-20, most cities have reported more than 80 per cent coverage of latrines, but out of the 60 AMRUT cities, 34 have reported zero efficiency regarding collection and treatment of sewage. 

In the absence of even a single city that is completely sewered; most households, institutions, commercial areas and public/community toilets in the state depend on onsite sanitation systems like septic tanks and pit latrines. And as there is no designated site for disposal, the emptied faecal sludge ends up in open drains/ nullahs/open fields, which eventually lead to polluting the Ganga and other rivers and surface water bodies. 

Said Rohilla: “According to a study conducted by CSE, 86.73 per cent of the excreta in the state either mixes with water bodies or is disposed of in agricultural lands or domestic environment. With 2019 just round the corner, the number of toilets/onsite sanitation systems being built in the state are all set to increase exponentially – if not managed scientifically and sustainably, the amount of faecal sludge that these new toilets will generate will swamp the state.”

The CSE analysis

CSE has analysed 30 cities of the state through all the stages of their sanitation chain. The key findings are as follows (visit www.cseindia.org to download the analysis): 

Cities with population of over 10 lakh

  • Around 44 per cent of the population is dependent on centralized sewerage systems, but wastewater generated by only 28 per cent of the population is safely treated.
  • 39 per cent of the population is dependent on onsite sanitation systems like septic tanks and pits, 30 per cent of which have correctly designed systems -- but excreta of only 16 per cent is managed.
  • Overall excreta of 44 per cent of the population is being managed despite inefficient emptying and transport. 

Cities with population between 5-10 lakh

  • More than 70 per cent of the population is dependent on tanks connected to open drains; roughly half of them qualify to be called as septic tanks.
  • In absence of scheduled desludging, only 30 per cent of the sludge generated gets emptied; rest remains in the tank and reduces the tank’s treatment efficiency.
  • Due to inaccessible tanks, manual emptying is rampant.
  • Overall excreta of 18 per cent of the population is being managed, despite inefficient emptying and transport. 

Cities with population between 1.2-5 lakh

  • Over 60 per cent of the population is dependent on tanks connected to open drains; 28 per cent of them qualify to be called as septic tanks.
  • Due to inaccessible tanks, manual emptying is rampant.
  • Overall excreta of 9 per cent of the population is being managed, despite inefficient emptying and transport. 

Cities with population of less than 1.2 lakh

  • More than 60 per cent of the population is dependent on tanks connected to open drains and roughly half of them qualify to be called as septic tanks.
  • In the absence of scheduled desludging, only 50 per cent of the sludge generated gets emptied.
  • Overall excreta of 4 per cent of the population is being managed despite inefficient emptying and transport. 

Announcing the launch of the Forum, Rohilla said: “CSE is working with cities in the state to support them on effective septage management. As part of this initiative, it has launched the Forum of Cities that Manage Septage to recognise those urban local bodies which have achieved some progress on FSSM, and to channelize all the initiatives and efforts in a more organized and sustainable form.”
 

For more on this, please contact Parul Tewari of The CSE Media Resource Centre, parul@cseindia.org / 9891838367.