By MASEMBE TAMBWE in New Delhi
|Dr Bindeshwar Pathak addressing participants of the national conference of sociology of sanitation recently|
Sociologists in the Indian Subcontinent have unanimously agreed to introduce sociology of sanitation as a new sub-discipline at the national and global level.
The Sulabh International founder, Dr Bindeshwar Pathak told the Daily News that he felt there was a need for a new sub-discipline of sociologist because of the growing interest the world is having on sanitation and benefits it has to society.
“It is my firm belief that the time has come when sanitation should be included as a discipline in sociology because of the core problems embodying sanitation,” he said.
The importance of sanitation has also trickled down to Tanzania where recently the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare started implementing a pilot project in three districts of Dodoma with funding from the Global Sanitation Fund as well as launching a national campaign last year.
Dr Pathak, the advocate for the inclusion into the discipline of sociology defined the sociology of sanitation as being a scientific study to solve the problems of society in relation to sanitation, social deprivation, water, public health, hygiene, ecology, environment, poverty, gender equality, welfare of children and empowering people for sustainable development.
Sulabh International is an Indian based social service organization which works to promote human rights, environmental sanitation, non-conventional sources of energy, waste management and social reforms through education and is the largest non-profit organization in India.
|The Minister for Rural Development, Mr Jairam Ramesh and the Speaker, Lok Sabha, Ms Meira Kumar were among the speakers during the opening of the national conference on siocology of sanitation|
A national conference on sociology of sanitation just ended in Delhi where sociologist from around the country also proposed that the new sub-discipline should engage with sanitation at the theoretical, empirical and action level.
The conference recommended that the primary objective of the discipline was to achieve total elimination of open defecation (easing oneself in the open and not in toilets) and empowering of the disadvantaged communities.
It was recommended that at the pragmatic level, the use of Sulabh models and technologies would achieve ecological sanitation in affordable and efficient manner.
Others recommendations included the development of appropriate curriculum, literature and plan action, having a working group under the leadership of Dr Pathak, having a tentative syllabus and that the Indian Sociological Society should have a research committee.
|The Secretary of the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Mr Pankaj Jain (in black suit) shares a moment with Dr Pathak during the closing of the conference|
The Secretary of the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Mr Pankaj Jain said during the closing of the conference that NGOs of the calibre of Sulabh International were needed to be in the forefront of promotion of sanitation.
Mr Jain said that it gravely saddened him that India was rapidly inching towards becoming a superpower with the highest levels of technological advancements, some of the best doctors yet it accounted for over 60 percent of the global population that defecate in the open.
“This is indeed a national shame. According to the current statistics, 67 percent of the rural population defecate in the open and 13 percent in the urban areas,” he said.
The Minister called for strong advocacy particularly in the rural areas saying that at least there space wasn’t so much of an issue like in the urban areas but stressed that urbanisation needed to be checked and controlled because of the increased slum areas.
Mr Jain said that the best way that sociology of sanitation as a discipline could take off is if the subject started being taught at lower levels in schools and that it should be part of the curriculum.
He said that the concept of sewerage treatment plants was still unknown to people especially those in the rural areas and urged NGOs to lend a helping hand as solid and liquid waste management was becoming a problem.
Sulabh International has been operating for over 40 years and has constructed more than 8000 public toilets at all important places in India that serve more than 15 million people every day where 200 are linked with biogas plants.
|Sulabh's twin pit latrine model is renowned across the global for using less water to flush, doesn't need to be connected to the sewerage system and is designed in such a way that it doesn't emit any foul smells|
Training of its technologies have been organised for officers, engineers and architects to African countries like Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Burkina Faso, Cameroon and Tanzania where currently there are 13 members from the Chadema opposition party including the wife of Dr Wilbrod Slaa undergoing training.
Sourced from the Daily News