kiran more

Wai is a class C council and a small pilgrim city in the Satara district of Maharashtra. Situated along with the River Krishna, it is known as Dakshin Kashi and is well known for its ghats and temples.

In 2013, a City Sanitation Plan (CSP) was prepared in consultation with the Wai Council by the Technical Support Unit of the state government and CEPT University. Wai Municipal Council decided to take up implementation of two key actions in their CSP. First, to make Wai Open Defecation Free (ODF). Second, to devise a city-wide septage management plan.

WMC has always taken a keen interest and prioritised sanitation-led activities in the city. While the focus has been on encouraging ‘own household toilets’ as a step towards ODF++, special attention has been given to Faecal Sludge and Septage Management (FSSM). As part of this scheduled desludging of septic tanks, a 3 years emptying cycle has been implemented along with treatment of collected septage at a dedicated Faecal Sludge Treatment Plant (FSTP). This led to the city being declared as ODF++. The desludging services were aimed to be an inclusive public service that covers all types of properties; such as bungalows, row houses, apartments, low-income households and slums. The services were provided in all the parts of the city and hence, it ensured that each of the septic tanks in the city was cleaned. The implementation of scheduled desludging has had many positive effects in the city, one of these being improved quality of effluent that goes into the river.

Sanitation falls under the category of public goods & services and most of which are partially funded through taxation. Hence, a sanitation tax was levied. The fact that no user charge/fee needs to be paid at the time of emptying individual tanks makes it attractive for property owners and has enabled acceptance by residents to avail the desludging services provided by the Wai Municipal Council.

With the completion of the three years desludging cycle, around 3600+ septic tanks have been served covering 6800 plus properties with a 95% acceptance rate of the scheduled services. Also, more than 19 million litres of septage has been treated at the FSTP in Wai.

The success of the effective implementation of FSSM in Wai can be attributed partially to the communication protocols. To make the citizens aware of the efforts being made by the Wai Municipal Council in keeping the city clean, information was provided through different media platforms. This included wall paintings, workshops, fairs, posters, banners, pamphlet distribution, training sessions, and social media posts. As at many households, the women family members are usually present at the time of desludging, the awareness programs targeted the female residents of Wai to a large extent.

 

SAFEGUARDING SANITATION WORKERS' HEALTH


The safety of the sanitation workers has always been important to the Wai Municipal Council. They have always been crucial team members who help maintain hygienic conditions in the city. So even before the precedent of COVID, the council had taken measures on conducting health check-up camps and PPE usage workshops for sanitation workers. It aimed to orient the workers towards the importance of usage of PPEs, healthy habits and ill effects of addiction.


LEADERSHIP THAT ENSURED SAFE SANITATION IN THE PANDEMIC

At the onset of Covid-19, the Government of Maharashtra responded promptly by taking all the necessary steps to contain the spread of the virus. The state also made sure that the citizens of the city kept receiving essential services required in day-to-day life. With the motto of “Swachh va Swasth Wai”, Wai Municipal Council took every measure to fight against the pandemic efficiently.

For Wai Municipal Council, the health and safety of the sanitation workers are very important and to ensure the wellbeing of all workers, PPE kits were distributed to keep themselves protected while carrying out their work. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the city, regular meetings were conducted with sanitation workers to ensure they were aware about all the health risks and ways in which they can stay safe. To ensure the smooth functioning of sanitation work, all sanitation workers were issued ID cards and permission letters by the Wai Municipal Council. Further, WMC ensured that scheduled desludging operations were being carried out regularly and even emergency desludging was being provided in Wai. Desludging of septic tanks of Community Toilets and Public Toilets are carried out by the council regularly. The FSTP in Wai was operational even after the pandemic hit and processed all the septage load.

Going Forward

 

 


A lot of work goes into keeping a city clean. An essential part of this ecosystem are the sanitation workers. The Wai Municipal Council will continue its work of providing a safe and efficient way of desludging septic tanks belonging to the citizens of the city and ensure the safety of sanitation workers.

In addition, to adhere to sustainability and climate-resilient infrastructure, efforts are underway to make the FSTP at Wai self-sufficient and sustainable with installations of solar energy plants at the FSTP.


National Faecal Sludge and Septage Management Alliance

The National Faecal Sludge and Septage Management Alliance is a collaborative body, convened in 2016 and supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, working with governments and decision-makers across the country at national, state and city levels to drive safe and sustainable urban sanitation in India.

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