Only 26% of rural toilets use twin-leach pits: survey

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A government-commissioned survey shows that only 26% of rural toilet have twin-leach pits, meaning that Waste disposal from other toilets could turn into a health and environmental nightmare.

Key Facts:

  • Centre’s flagship sanitation scheme Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is on the verge of completing toilet construction for all rural households.
  • Anyway, a government-commissioned survey shows that just over a quarter of rural toilets use this twin-pit system.
  • National Annual Rural Sanitation Survey 2018-19 data found that just 26.6% of rural households use the recommended twin-pit system to dispose of excreta from their toilets. Septic tanks are the most popular option, with 28% of toilets connected to a septic tank with a soak pit and 6% to a tank without a soak pit.
  • Jharkhand is second on the list, with almost 58% of its toilets connected to twin pits, was declared open defecation free (ODF) only late last year.
  • Uttar Pradesh tops the list with 64% of toilets with twin pits, had made the technology mandatory for anyone who wanted to avail the government’s ₹12,000 subsidy to build toilets.

What is the twin-pit system?

  • The twin-pit system is two pits dug with honeycombed walls and earthen floors which allow liquid to percolate into the surrounding soil.
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  • When one pit is filled and closed off, waste flow is transferred to the second pit, allowing waste in the first pit to be converted into manure after a year or two.
  •  The twin pit has been promoted by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation as well as the World Health Organisation as an in-situ sanitation system which claims to bypass thorny issues such as caste purity, as owners will be dealing with manure, not excreta.

Way Forward:

  • For the more than 70% of toilets without twin pits, a faecal sludge management system is desperately needed , because merely connecting the toilet to drain is not enough as drains empty out in local land or ponds, leading to large pollution of groundwater.
  •  Sceptic tanks is also not a viable option because they have to be cleaned evet 2-3 years and then for this also Dalit communities which have traditionally been forced into manual scavenging are likely to end up in sanitation work to clean these tanks.

Source: The Hindu






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