In urban UP, 87% of waste from toilets goes to rivers, farmlands: CSE study

In urban UP, 87% of waste from toilets goes to rivers, farmlands: CSE study

Courtesy : Bureau27/10/2018 08:47

A study by the Centre for Science and Environment says if more toilets and septic tanks are built without a proper sewer system in place, the sewage will swamp the Uttar Pradesh

New Delhi, Oct 24: Urban areas in Uttar Pradesh may have 80% toilet cover, but due to “inefficient” sanitation systems almost 87% of the excreta from these lavatories is being dumped in water bodies or agricultural lands, according to a new report published by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).

The report, on the analysis of 30 cities in Uttar Pradesh, released on Monday, argues that building more toilets will only worsen the environmental and sanitation situation while at the same time increasing manual scavenging unless sewerage connections increase from the current 28% of households in those cities.

Onsite sanitation systems — such as septic tanks or pit latrines — are far more prevalent, and are used by 47% households, it stated.

“With 2019 just around the corner, the number of toilets and onsite sanitation systems in the state are set to increase exponentially. But if these are not managed scientifically and sustainably, the amount of faecal sludge that these new toilets will generate will swamp the state,” said CSE programme director of waste and wastewater management Suresh Rohilla.

Manual scavengers

Without a proper sewerage system, the effluent from septic tanks and greywater from kitchen and bathroom flows out into stormwater drains and open drains.

The faecal sludge, on the other hand, has to be periodically emptied from the septic tank, either manually or mechanically.

The CSE’s analysis found that half of all emptying work in these cities is done manually, even though the employment of manual scavengers has been banned.

“As there is no designated site for disposal (of faeces), the faecal sludge ends up in open drains and nullahs and open fields, which eventually lead to polluting the Ganga and other rivers, and surface water bodies,” the report stated.

Over a six-month period, researchers mapped excreta flow diagrams for 30 cities divided into four clusters by population.

In cities with a population over 10 lakh, such as Lucknow, Kanpur and Agra, sewerage system covers 44% of the population. However, only 28% of that wastewater is safely treated.

A third of the population is dependent on septic tanks connected to open drains, while around four per cent of the population still defecates in the open. Overall, only 44% of the waste generated is safely treated and managed.

Small cities are in a precarious situation

In smaller cities with a population between five and 10 lakh, the situation is much worse, as more than 70% of the population is dependent on tanks connected to open drains, with only half of them actually qualifying as septic tanks, the report claimed.

Of the five cities in this cluster, only Jhansi has a designated disposal site.

Overall, only 18% of the waste and sludge is safely managed. In cities with a population between 1.2 lakh and five lakh, only 9% of waste and sludge are safely managed, while in the fourth cluster of cities whose populations are less than 1.2 lakh, that figure drops to a mere four per cent, the CSE report stated.


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