‘World Toilet Summit-2018’ on the ‘World Toilet Day’…
India to be Open Defecation Free by 2019
World Toilet Summit-2018 concludes creating a wave of combined responsibility.
Community leaders assure to deliver their best to sustain the ODF status.
We have to stay watchful to prevent recurrence of the unhygienic practice.
by Shrutee K/DNS
Mumbai, 2018: In the heart of the bustling city Mumbai, a few thought leaders and their followers gathered on November 19-20, to discuss the priority and chalk out the next action plans to achieve the ‘open defecation free status’ for India by 2019. Centering around the Government’s ‘’Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’’ (Clean India Mission), launched under the leadership of the Hon. Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, the event, “World Toilet Summit-2018”, not only highlighted the challenges on the way but also brainstormed the 350 entrepreneurs who have been actively working in this field – on the latest technologies and the time-tested best practices around the world.
The event attracted delegates from leading corporate houses, Government agencies, ULB’s, NGOs and social business entrepreneurs. Although, India hosted the Summit twice earlier in 2007 and 2015, this time the most significant feature of this Summit was participation of delegates from different religious organisations like: Paramarth Niketan and Jeeva Foundation. Muslim leader Mr. Maulana Masood and some other Buddhist leaders also graced the occasion. All the community representatives and leaders have taken up the call and assured further accelerated steps to achieve the goal.
Along with Member of Parliament Mrs Poonam Mahajan, renowned Film Star Mr. Akshay Kumar who is also the Harpic Swachh Bharat Ambassador addressed the gathering. Mahajan drew attention on the importance of cleanliness. Kumar recalled a sad story that made him join the cleanliness movement – when he went to a village for shooting he heard that one lady left her husband only because her hubby’s family did not have a toilet. So, he acted in the fim Toilet: Ek Prem Katha. Later Kumar and his wife actively participated in the sanitary hygiene movement too – and acted in the film Padman. Kumar also assured to act in some more films to bring awareness among people on the need of sanitary hygiene. Through a video message, the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Shri Devendra Fadnavis communicated that Maharashtra declared the ODF (Open Defecation Free) status last October. Now the State will work on the sustainability of the ODF status. He also asserted that under the dynamic leadership of Shri Narendra Modi, this is a reality that by 2019, India will be Open Defecation Free.
Other prominent delegates who attended the two-day event included – Mr. Gary White, CEO & Founder of Water.org; Mr. Jack Sim, Founder of World Toilet Organisation (WTO); Dr. Dayanand Panse, Director of Ecosan Services Foundation (ESF); Mr. Madhusudan Lohia, Director of Merino Industries; and Ms. Jin Montesano, Chief Public Affairs Officer of LIXIL Group. Dr. Parameswaran Iyer, Secretary, Swachh Bharat Mission received the life-time achievement award in sanitation.
The Summit hosted several interactive sessions with renowned keynote speakers and expert panelists. It has also created a base for the establishment of multi-sectoral partnerships, leveraging on local as well as international movements that will be supportive to the Swachh Bharat Mission.
In the concluding remark, Dr. Panse reminded, “While moving towards the realization of this target of making the world and India Open Defecation Free., we need to work relentlessly to see that this status remains. As per our experience, because of reasons like faulty design or lack of sufficient water etc., people leave the use of constructed toilets, and again the vicious circle starts. We have to be watchful to prevent such recurrence.”