Pause before pushing more people to ODF (open defecation free)

34.9k views

Page selection:
  • AjitSeshadri
  • AjitSeshadri's Avatar
  • Marine Chief Engineer by profession (1971- present) and at present Faculty in Marine Engg. Deptt. Vels University, Chennai, India. Also proficient in giving Environmental solutions , Designation- Prof. Ajit Seshadri, Head- Environment, The Vigyan Vijay Foundation, NGO, New Delhi, INDIA , Consultant located at present at Chennai, India
  • Posts: 242
  • Likes received: 54

Re: Pause before pushing more people to ODF

I thank Mr Paresh in giving reference to COD ie Controlled Open Defecation ( modified version of OD) .

SPA, Delhi ( premier Institute for Architecture and Planning ), had COD version in the Toilet Complex done at Maha Kumbh Campus , with a great no. of foot falls.
In Rural and village areas, in India where water and light ( power) facilities are not available, COD would be applied, under Village Admin. Authority.
Whenever water and light facilities become available, same spaces earlier used for COD would be used for making organised CTCs ie Community Toilet Complexes under NGOs care Etc.
This will be apt and in order as per GoI SBM/ SBA objectives Etc.
As regards the good use of spaces, all wastes ought to be evoved safely into usable resources and disposed off ex sites.
The entire spaces are maintained clean and green also achieve SDGs.

Well wishes to Communities,
Prof. Ajit Seshadri, Faculty in Marine Engg. Deptt. Vels University, and
Head-Environment , VigyanVijay Foundation, Consultant (Water shed Mngmnt, WWT, WASH, others)Located at present at Chennai, India

Please Log in to join the conversation.

You need to login to reply
  • paresh
  • paresh's Avatar
  • Moderator
  • Budding WASH researcher, especially interested in governance, public policy, finance, politics and social justice. Architect, Urban & Regional planner by training, Ex. C-WAS, India.I am a patient person :)
  • Posts: 332
  • Karma: 7
  • Likes received: 129

Re: Pause before pushing more people to ODF

Dear Ashok,
In the article titled 'contamination of culture' posted on July 07, you touch upon advantages of India’s ancient practice of not having toilets in house and defecating in the field away from home. This was probably true and suited the agriculture based society we were then and therefore these points are well taken. However, I do not agree that the idea of the toilet has been forced upon us. It has been needed by increase in density due to urbanisation, itself an effect of changes in pattern of economic activities among other things. Aspirations of individuals is also a reason they were adopted. So bashing the west is a little unfair in my humble opinion.

I certainly agree that in principle COD as a temporary arrangement as suggested by Prof. Sheshadri may be a better idea for reasons mentioned in Rajesh's article in the Medium. Our society has transformed, the practice of agriculture has changed and the ground water table has fallen, the rivers and ponds have dried up or are polluted in many places. How do we alter to suit to these changed conditions? Practicing COD as our ancestors practiced OD will still be challenging. Consequently the health benefits of walking and squatting needed for OD outlined in the piece will also not be realised.

How do we also adapt this practice with the changes our society has witnessed in terms of pattern of economic activities accompanied by urbanisation? How do we ensure people have access to safe space to relieve themselves, adequately near so that the distance is not a deterrent yet far enough to complete a morning walk? These are some of the questions I can think of immediately.

The sketches of COD sites are excellent, can be optimised for space. If I remember correctly, SPA Delhi had also proposed COD sites for temporary usage during the Kumbh. The designs were presented at Reinvent the Toilet Fair in Delhi.

Regards
paresh
Paresh Chhajed-Picha
Researcher at Indian Institute of Technology - Bombay, India
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Twitter: @Sparsh85
Wikipedia: Sparsh85

Co-moderator of this discussion forum
The following user(s) like this post: AjitSeshadri

Please Log in to join the conversation.

You need to login to reply
  • AjitSeshadri
  • AjitSeshadri's Avatar
  • Marine Chief Engineer by profession (1971- present) and at present Faculty in Marine Engg. Deptt. Vels University, Chennai, India. Also proficient in giving Environmental solutions , Designation- Prof. Ajit Seshadri, Head- Environment, The Vigyan Vijay Foundation, NGO, New Delhi, INDIA , Consultant located at present at Chennai, India
  • Posts: 242
  • Likes received: 54

Re: Pause, suggest opt for COD , before pushing more people to ODF

Dear SuSanA Members:

Thanks Rajesh, for a mention on COD, Controlled Open Defecation, and that it is a great idea, and that villagers in Rajasthan are doing this, with women going in groups, already. Of course, in sandy, desert conditions, it is easier.

This COD mode of OD, got evolved during floods at Kerala, August 2018, the whole area had got inundated and water-logged.
With support of volunteers, the villagers at the start had improvised, dis orderly space allocation for OD, and the sludges (night soil) collected and incinerated, with a lot of difficulty.

As the habitats were spread out, consolidation of the villagers, in open, drier and high ground was difficult, but managed.
Separate spaces were allocated on certain hill-mounts for different groups of residents viz. men and women.
Youth were kept on watch and ward keeping duties ( 2hrs on duty ) regulated by Police Officials.

Floods re-occurred in August, 2019, similar arrangements were done, in more organised manner this time .
In some areas, these spaces are ear-marked for making CTCs Community Toilet Complexes.
This would mean that the practices are falling in place, and will get regularized,
We wish it happens, and communities welfare is bettered.

well wishes to Members,
Prof. Ajit Seshadri, Faculty in Marine Engg. Deptt. Vels University, and
Head-Environment , VigyanVijay Foundation, Consultant (Water shed Mngmnt, WWT, WASH, others)Located at present at Chennai, India
The following user(s) like this post: SusannahClemence

Please Log in to join the conversation.

You need to login to reply
  • satyagrahi
  • Topic Author
  • Founder of the Peer Water Exchange, the place where projects, funding decisions, and results are open source. PWX is where peers collaborate and share about projects and help steer funding into improved projects.
  • Posts: 20
  • Karma: 1
  • Likes received: 10

Re: Pause before pushing more people to ODF

I think it should really be the local government's responsibility to provide sustainable saniation. The development sector (and NGOs) have only stepped in to fill some voids and to nudge and push and create awareness. But ultimately, it is the local government that's responsible for this, just like in the wealthier countries. Which brings us back to the huge problem of "good governance"... Something which we from the sanitation sector cannot solve on our own...


The development sector has immense influence. And the global focus on money has broken the institutions of governance, where corruption is rife. So it is clear that only one form of development is pushed and with local and national governance absent, we cannot absolve ourselves easily of our role in the creation of the 'huge problem' including the problem of pushing poor solutions. For example, the pushing of borewells without touching on demand has led to depletion of groundwater and now the communities are facing scarcity after getting used to plentiful year-round supply of water and losing their habits of living with seasonal water supply. Also, in some cases, this has created arsenic and fluoride poisoning problems.

I will send you via email a recent article on this issue.

Regards,
Rajesh
Executive Director
Peer Water Exchange

Please Log in to join the conversation.

You need to login to reply
  • satyagrahi
  • Topic Author
  • Founder of the Peer Water Exchange, the place where projects, funding decisions, and results are open source. PWX is where peers collaborate and share about projects and help steer funding into improved projects.
  • Posts: 20
  • Karma: 1
  • Likes received: 10

Re: Pause before pushing more people to ODF

Dear Elisabeth,

However, you didn't respond to some of my points:

In the e-mail that you copied above, the author (a male person?) said: "The only relevant objection to it is the ‘lack of privacy’.". Well that is a very real concern, especially (or only?) for woman, isn't it?! So how would that be overcome if you propagate open defecation on soil in villages and towns that are getting more and more populated and crowded?


I agree privacy is a very real concern. But it has to be taken in its entirety, not just for defecation. For example, many toilets have been constructed in front of people's homes. This is for convenience in construction and reduction in costs. But for some it is culturally uncomfortable to enter a toilet in full view of passerbys.

In villages, centuries of OD practices, have made this privacy issue a non-issue. You bring up a good point of now over-crowding making this an issue again. A toilet is then, just one answer. I am sure communities will come up with many others if left to resolve them within the context of their own culture.


Also can you point to any success stories where villagers have changed their behaviours and are now digging small holes and covering their faeces with soil after each defecation event (the "cat method")? If that was possible it would be good, although in crowded conditions the next user may by mistake uncover the fresh faeces of someone else when they do their own little hole.


As far as i am aware, NGOs are not pursuing this type of controlled open defecation (COD) as a solution. So without funding, resources, and interest not only will we not see such an approach being offered as a solution, but there will be no documentation and reporting if some communities are experimenting on their own.

Thanks for continuing to engage on this important topic.

Regards,
Rajesh
Executive Director
Peer Water Exchange

Please Log in to join the conversation.

You need to login to reply
  • satyagrahi
  • Topic Author
  • Founder of the Peer Water Exchange, the place where projects, funding decisions, and results are open source. PWX is where peers collaborate and share about projects and help steer funding into improved projects.
  • Posts: 20
  • Karma: 1
  • Likes received: 10

Re: Pause, suggest opt for COD , before pushing more people to ODF

@Ajit (forum.susana.org/forum/profile/8249-ajitseshadri) says:

In my earlier post Dtd. 5th July,2019 had suggested a revised mode of ODF ie COD. Controlled Open Defecation.

I think that this is a great idea. I believe that villagers in Rajasthan are doing this, with women going in groups, already. Of course, in sandy, desert conditions, it is easier.

Do we have any models of this? Any NGO experience, documented?

It will take guts in today's national/international climate to attempt to implement this, not to mention that funding will be absent.
Executive Director
Peer Water Exchange

Please Log in to join the conversation.

You need to login to reply
  • Elisabeth
  • Elisabeth's Avatar
  • Moderator
  • Freelance consultant since 2012 (former roles: program manager at GIZ and SuSanA secretariat, lecturer, process engineer for wastewater treatment plants)
  • Posts: 3372
  • Karma: 54
  • Likes received: 931

Re: Pause before pushing more people to ODF

Dear Rajesh,

Thanks for your responses which I have enjoyed reading. You are certainly providing food for thought here!

However, you didn't respond to some of my points:

In the e-mail that you copied above, the author (a male person?) said: "The only relevant objection to it is the ‘lack of privacy’.". Well that is a very real concern, especially (or only?) for woman, isn't it?! So how would that be overcome if you propagate open defecation on soil in villages and towns that are getting more and more populated and crowded? Also can you point to any success stories where villagers have changed their behaviours and are now digging small holes and covering their faeces with soil after each defecation event (the "cat method")? If that was possible it would be good, although in crowded conditions the next user may by mistake uncover the fresh faeces of someone else when they do their own little hole.


I would still like to know how you responses to those.

Secondly, you talk a lot about "the development sector". I think it should really be the local government's responsibility to provide sustainable saniation. The development sector (and NGOs) have only stepped in to fill some voids and to nudge and push and create awareness. But ultimately, it is the local government that's responsible for this, just like in the wealthier countries. Which brings us back to the huge problem of "good governance"... Something which we from the sanitation sector cannot solve on our own...

Regards,
Elisabeth
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Freelance consultant on environmental and climate projects
Located in Ulm, Germany
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
My Wikipedia user profile: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:EMsmile
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/elisabethvonmuench/

Please Log in to join the conversation.

You need to login to reply
  • satyagrahi
  • Topic Author
  • Founder of the Peer Water Exchange, the place where projects, funding decisions, and results are open source. PWX is where peers collaborate and share about projects and help steer funding into improved projects.
  • Posts: 20
  • Karma: 1
  • Likes received: 10

Re: Pause before pushing more people to ODF

bracken writes: "My main issue however, is indeed this universal call for OD as a solution for rural sanitation problems. In my opinion this makes as little sense as calling for flush toilets for everyone (and what a disaster that would be!)."

I agree with you that it makes 'as little sense as ...' but when something that makes little sense becomes the entire policy of countries and finds cheerleaders in the the rest of the world, how does one hold a candle with a different light?

And, as someone asked, how does the issue get polarized? I titled the article starting with the word 'Pause'. And people are questioning that request while not questioning and, in fact, actively supporting the movement into the 'disaster that would be'.

Peace,
Rajesh
Executive Director
Peer Water Exchange

Please Log in to join the conversation.

You need to login to reply
  • satyagrahi
  • Topic Author
  • Founder of the Peer Water Exchange, the place where projects, funding decisions, and results are open source. PWX is where peers collaborate and share about projects and help steer funding into improved projects.
  • Posts: 20
  • Karma: 1
  • Likes received: 10

Re: Pause before pushing more people to ODF

joeturner wrote: "May I ask a question: Doesn't everyone accept the risk of spread of disease from feet etc from OD?

I can see that pits may indeed cause other problems - but there is good evidence that this disease transfer mechanism is reduced, isn't there?"

There can be OD practices that restrict the spread of disease from feet (human feet, there are a few publications on feet of insects). I have not seen any studies on this diseases transfer mechanism nor on how soon fecal matter becomes safe in combinations of open air and sun.

I, for one, will accept the risks of OD, over the risks (and unknowns) of using water to push fecal matter underground. Its not a popular view :( as it does lead to some self-enquiry amongst the professionals in the development sector.

Peace,
Rajesh
Executive Director
Peer Water Exchange

Please Log in to join the conversation.

You need to login to reply
  • satyagrahi
  • Topic Author
  • Founder of the Peer Water Exchange, the place where projects, funding decisions, and results are open source. PWX is where peers collaborate and share about projects and help steer funding into improved projects.
  • Posts: 20
  • Karma: 1
  • Likes received: 10

Re: Pause before pushing more people to ODF

Dear Elisabeth,

You wrote: "I agree in principle that "shitting into water" is a stupid idea whereas "shitting onto soil" is in theory better. But how to make it work in a more and more crowded world is the question. We are running out of space and soil for everyone to shit on soil... The ecosan toilets (UDDTs) which many of us like & favour in theory have sadly not been able to convince enough users or government officials, at least not in India, or so it seems."

In my conversations, many people state something similar to what you say, or agree with it.

So, you and the majority, maintain that we should still go ahead with building toilets and push the stuff underground and into aquifers. How to make it work is pushed into the future. For me the question is 'not how to make it work in a more crowded world', but to discuss if it is our work or what are the actual causes. That discussion has to hold some space in the rest of the discussion which is just to keep working, to keep busy, and often, just address the symptoms.

You wrote: "I think once the pits of the twin pits are full, perhaps there will be a second push for a more mechanised way of emptying the pits, using proper equipment, pumps, hoses, gloves, masks etc. and proper faecal sludge management and treatment. At least one would hope so. The huge number of new publications on faecal sludge management (FSM) coming out of India indicate that this is happening (see here on the forum: forum.susana.org/53-faecal-sludge-management So it's not all doom and gloom, or is it?"

Development efforts are filled with "second pushes", third pushes, fourth, ... MDGs, SDGs, ... Because we cannot not do anything, and patiently discuss and wait. We have funds and jobs and have been programmed to do, so our entire NGO/development sphere is filled with people who want to do something, anything, at least put in some effort. And publish results, any results, as long as it leads to continuing the status quo. And not dissect our efforts and results in the past, before embarking on our next set of DGs. In that torrent, it is very hard to hold any space to pause before acting. Address downstream problems and issues before creating them. E.g. stop polluting until we know how to fix the pollution.

In fact, by not doing something, we may create a crisis of a different type, where the people on the ground face the issue directly and can respond. They cannot respond as easily to issues that have a degree of separation such as health impacts (such as a reduction in height) from contaminated water (from what source?) and need external intervention to resolve.

The development sector has not found a model where people can hold and address their own problems, all our solutions require more solutions, more intervention, more aid in the future.

Regards,
Rajesh
Executive Director
Peer Water Exchange

Please Log in to join the conversation.

You need to login to reply
  • satyagrahi
  • Topic Author
  • Founder of the Peer Water Exchange, the place where projects, funding decisions, and results are open source. PWX is where peers collaborate and share about projects and help steer funding into improved projects.
  • Posts: 20
  • Karma: 1
  • Likes received: 10

Re: Pause before pushing more people to ODF

Dear Elisabeth and all,

Sorry for the delay in responding. I will respond to the questions you ask in separate replies.

You wrote: "Why don't you want to put your ideas here on the forum? What benefit would there be to sharing your ideas only with me "in person" rather than sharing them with lots of people online here?"

A couple of reasons:

- A bunch of ideas that are in formative state, half-baked if you will, that need conversation, input, and collaboration. They cannot be expressed in writing clearly. When there is a conversation, there are other supports: tone, gestures, eyes, feedback, ... and so articulating in person allows an idea to form, to grow.

- A forum where most of the entries are putting forth their own ideas and experience is not the place to develop, sharpen, or bury the ideas.

- I noticed in my conversations that many people were able to state things that they would never put down. Thoughts critical of their organization, of their own funders, of governments, of the power structure, ... but would never put it down in writing.

I have put some down in writing: Two Obstacles That Have Hindered Development and tried to push a different mindset in our thinking: Vaccine Thinking v Water Thinking , but found no people who want to discuss it or even give their opinions on directions that lead away from today's established paths (for NGOs and development).

Regards,
Rajesh
Executive Director
Peer Water Exchange

Please Log in to join the conversation.

You need to login to reply
  • AjitSeshadri
  • AjitSeshadri's Avatar
  • Marine Chief Engineer by profession (1971- present) and at present Faculty in Marine Engg. Deptt. Vels University, Chennai, India. Also proficient in giving Environmental solutions , Designation- Prof. Ajit Seshadri, Head- Environment, The Vigyan Vijay Foundation, NGO, New Delhi, INDIA , Consultant located at present at Chennai, India
  • Posts: 242
  • Likes received: 54

Re: Pause, suggest opt for COD , before pushing more people to ODF

Dear SuSanA Members.

In my earlier post Dtd. 5th July,2019 had suggested a revised mode of ODF ie COD. Controlled Open Defecation.

In this the people get some time before toilets be it be CTCs or individual tiolets are organised with other infrastructure Etc..

Here too, village admins have to ensure it is maintained clean and hygenically in order and spaces alternated and maintained. Night soil taken up on co composting path for re use in agri farms Etc..

Well wishes.
Prof. Ajit Seshadri, Faculty in Marine Engg. Deptt. Vels University, and
Head-Environment , VigyanVijay Foundation, Consultant (Water shed Mngmnt, WWT, WASH, others)Located at present at Chennai, India

Please Log in to join the conversation.

You need to login to reply
Page selection:
Share this thread:
Recently active users. Who else has been active?
Time to create page: 0.183 seconds
Powered by Kunena Forum