Emerging issues of Sanitation Workers and Manual Scavengers

14.1k views

  • 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: 168
  • Likes received: 33

Re: Emerging issues of Sanitation Workers and Manual Scavengers

Dear CPR Researchers -

After viewing Episode 25 : How sanitation work can be made safer and eradicate manual scavenging etc., opine that it is well compiled and gives us an ideal way to approach the subject. And to be frank, this definitely gets us to be in the same position as we were before, ie no respite on accidents and deaths which are happening in this sector.

Can we access and assess information at varied Municipalities or sectors where in this sanitation work, there has not been any untoward incident, injuries or deaths etc. Can we source this data and try to study it- As to how it has been managed safely and securedly for extended time, with what type of fail- safe systems have operated, guidelines, rules, procedures with SOPs for systems and SWOPs - PPEs for personnel etc.

Some specific details could be drawn and guidelines made on the lines of systems and personnel working on drinking water, HT Electric transmission lines etc.
This could be a starter, for a country like India..

The above request issued for doing good in communities,
well wishes
from Prof. Ajit Seshadri, School of Maritime Studies. Vels University, Chennai , India
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
You need to login to reply
  • arkaja
  • arkaja's Avatar
  • Fellow, Centre for Policy Research
  • Posts: 5
  • Likes received: 4

Re: Emerging issues of Sanitation Workers and Manual Scavengers

Thanks Prof Seshadri.

I've been curious about manual scavenging in Chennai city limits, and about the Chennai Metro Water Supply and Sewerage Board (CMWSSB), and am wondering whether you know more about it? In a Madras High Court case in 2008, the court went quite far in getting CMWSSB to detail out it infra, machinery (for mechanical cleaning), protective equipment and safety protocols (for physical entry), and listed specific instances only in which manual entry was to be permitted. I wonder whether there was any result on the ground as a result of that case? (It could be that the directions of the court needed to be translated into local SOPs etc., and perhaps the activists were not able to get it done, but maybe they did.)

Another example, which we are more familiar with is the one from Malaysia, which we refer to in our podcast. All the safety protocols and SOPs have been developed in their case, but we need to work out how that sort of system would be implemented in our case. The almost total informalisation and ad hoc nature of of manual scavenging work in India these days is quite an issue, it makes it even more difficult to introduce a formal protocol, but we need to make sure its the engineer (and not the worker or the site supervisor) who is responsible for the safety protocol.
I am a lawyer by training and I am currently responsible for managing a programme on sanitation (SCI FI, or 'Scaling City Institutions for India') at the Centre for Policy Research. My current work is focused on the role of law and regulation for inclusive water and sanitation. I lead and manage research on various aspects of non-network sanitation, informal service provision, and its institutional and socio-economic dimensions.

My other interests and areas of work include: urban governance and policy, land, urban poverty, low-income informal settlements, environment law and water resources.
The following user(s) like this post: AjitSeshadri
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: 168
  • Likes received: 33

Re: Emerging issues of Sanitation Workers and Manual Scavengers

Dear Susana Members,
Wish to give an impression of the latest happenings in Sewer tank cleanings , it is for information of Members

Pl source the article given below :
https://www-vice-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.vice.com/amp/en/article/akd9wz/photographs-of-manual-scavengers-india-deaths-m-palani-kumar

With well wishes,
Prof. Ajit Seshadri 
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
You need to login to reply
  • paresh
  • paresh's Avatar
  • 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: 178
  • Karma: 7
  • Likes received: 86

Re: Emerging issues of Sanitation Workers and Manual Scavengers

Thank you professor Sheshadri for sharing the article . ("In Photos: The Short, Tragic Lives of India's Sewer Cleaners. The task of cleaning human faeces often falls on Dalits, a community deemed the lowest in the ancient Hindu caste system."); it captures the grim reality and the photographs are mind-numbing and moving to put it mildly. 

Summarising the issues faced by manual scavengers highlighted (explicitly or implicitly) in the article here:
  • Low wages, PPE not made available by contractors
  • Lose job if they talk to reporters, let them take pictures
  • Caste-based discrimination in schools --> dropouts
  • Manual scavengers die very young
  • Deaths due to manual scavenging often not reported as such --> lack of data --> invisibility in policy making
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
with financial support from WSSCC (now SHF)
The following user(s) like this post: Elisabeth, AjitSeshadri
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: 168
  • Likes received: 33

Re: Emerging issues of Sanitation Workers and Manual Scavengers

Dear SuSANA Members,

I feel pleased that certain points raised by me on the  Emerging issues of Sanitation Workers and Manual Scavengers, and their working and living conditions, have been brought out well by Esteemed Susana Member - Ar. Paresh.
Main points that have been mentioned by Member,  are 5 Nos. and need a detailed review by the Authorities and other communities:

Mentioning them in this summation, will make the information detailed and  become complete; 
1.  Low wages, PPE not made available by contractors
   A lot needs to be done, in bringing awareness and participation in communities, to place these works done by sanitation workere at a premium, more so to be held at par with jobs done by Electrical Technicians and others. 
The jobs to be done under care and supervision by approved contractor, with the use of PPEs and safety practices Etc. 

2.  Lose job if they talk to reporters, let them take pictures.
The work needs to be done in the open, like all other civic cleaning work Etc.  If necessary rules and guidelines are not followed, then the concerned are reprimanded and rules followed.

3.  Caste-based discrimination in schools --> dropouts
This needs to be done with more care, as it deals with communities that have been doing this works for many years. However, due respect and regard is to be ensured given and education and others are allowed to be given without any discrimination Etc. If done, duly the defaulters are penalized. 
  
4. Manual scavengers die very young: 
This data holds good even to this day, necessary safe ans secure conditions are ensured so that the sanitation workers given preventive, medical care and not subjected to prevalent occupational hazards in septic tank systems Etc. 
 
5. Deaths due to manual scavenging often not reported as such --> lack of data --> invisibility in policy making.
The operational data on sanitation workers and cleaning operations is to be kept transparent and civil administrations should be held accountable and responsible for any accidents or any other untoward incident happening, in this regard. 

General :
Regularly awareness and guidelines on safe work- practices, to be given in the form of training and made aware.
Due respect and regard to be given to the nature of work and the status of the work force Etc.

The above notings  issued in the interest of the working community, and their well being for betterment of society in particular.

With well wishes, 

Prof. Ajit Seshadri 

Susana Member. 
The Vigyan Vijay Foundation, NGO. New Delhi. 
    

 
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
You need to login to reply
Share this thread:
Recently active users. Who else has been active?
Time to create page: 0.218 seconds