Pocket Book for Health and Safety of Sanitation Workers during COVID-19 released in Uttar Pradesh, and MalAsur ‘Demon of Defeca’ Campaign launched

A joint initiative by Centre for Science and Environment, Namami Gange, the Department of Urban Development in Uttar Pradesh and BBC Media Action 

New Delhi, June 22, 2020: Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) and the National Mission for Clean Ganga have joined hands to support one of the key communities of onsite workers who are fighting to contain the COVID-19 pandemic – sanitation workers in cities. Together, they have prepared and released a comprehensive pocket book for sanitary inspectors and supervisors to help ensure health and safety of sanitation workers. They have also kickstarted a campaign developed by BBC Media Action to build awareness on how improper faecal sludge management can impact public health – the campaign has been named MalAsur ‘Demon of Defeca’. 

Shri Rajiv Ranjan Mishra,director general, National Mission for Clean Gangaand Dr Kajal, director, Directorate of Local Bodies, Department of Urban Development, Uttar Pradesh,released the pocket book and launched the campaign virtually at an online meeting attended by about 75 participants. 

Speaking at the launch event, Suresh Rohilla, senior director, water and wastewater management, CSE, said: “Access to safe water and sanitation is critical for stopping the spread of COVID-19 pandemic. The importance of proper faecal sludge and septage management in protecting water bodies and building resilience to COVID-19 has already been highlighted during this crisis. Sanitation workers play an important role in helping achieve this objective, and their health and safety needs to be ensured.” 

Rohilla, who moderated the event, reiterated CSE’s commitment to support the state during these difficult times. 

The virtual meeting discussed the following agenda and action points -- training and sensitisation drive across UP and the Ganga basin region targeting health and safety of sanitation workers during COVID-19; making the pocket book available to sanitary inspectors across this region; raising awareness of impact of faecal sludge on river pollution through the MalAsur campaign in Ganga towns (with a pilotin Bijnor and Chunar); and encouraging the key cities in Uttar Pradesh to take up the MalAsur campaign. 

Delivering the keynote addresses, Shri Mishra emphasised that such initiatives would help Namami Gange to achieve its objectives, while Dr Kajal assured the listeners about the commitment of the DoUD towards city-wide sanitation and ensuring the health and safety of sanitation workers. 

Ms Anisha Singh and Ms Reethira Kumar from BBC Media Action; Shri Durgeswar Tripathi, executive officer, Bijnor; Ms Pratibha Singh, executive officer, Chunar; and Rahul Mankotia, programme manager, water and wastewater management unit, CSE were the other panellists at this event.


For more on this and on CSE’s work on water and wastewater management, please contact Sukanya Nair of The CSE Media Resource Centre, sukanya.nair@cseindia.org, 88168 18864.