Intending to build a clean and green district while protecting its people from pollution and related health issues, the district administration of Bhadradri Kothagudem, an aspirational district in Telangana has commenced various ODF Plus activities to build awareness and ensure visible cleanliness with the support of the village community.
Having been declared ODF in August 2019 after constructing 88,416 individual household toilets under the Swachh Bharat Mission Grameen (SBM-G) Phase I, the district has ensured that no one is left behind by constructing toilets for new emerging households and to date 1090 IHHLs have been constructed, under SBM-G Phase II. The district is now geared up to establish solid and liquid waste management (SLWM) assets under the State-run Palle Pragathi programme.
Solid Waste Management (SWM): All the 479 Gram Panchayats in the 22 Mandals have established SWM sheds and procured tractors for waste collection. In addition, trainings were conducted for field functionaries to ensure functioning of the sheds and today, composting is done in all GPs. The district has also established a 5 stage SWM sanitation service chain at GP level, that consists of source segregation, collection, transportation, processing/treatment, and safe disposal.
The process of ensuring source segregation and forward linkages of dry waste was not without challenges or resistance. But this was successfully addressed with the support of the WASH Institute (WASH-I) which has been supporting the district in creating awareness among beneficiaries for source segregation and also conducting capacity-building sessions for District, Mandal, and GP level staff.
To date, as many as 168 GPs have achieved 100 per cent source segregation, and in most GPs, the source segregation is nearly 70 per cent. To achieve 100 per cent source segregation in all the GPs, awareness activities are conducted every week through GP functionaries and WASH-I.
Plastic Waste Management: On 5th September 2019, the District Collector and the DRDA Chairman jointly issued a ban on single-use plastics (SUPs) and inaugurated a programme to produce cloth bags as alternatives to plastic. Further, they asked all government offices to create awareness about the SUP ban.
In order to build a plastic-free district, various activities to build awareness and curb the use of plastics were taken up. The support of SHG members was enlisted to conduct door-to-door campaigns and they successfully mobilized massive community participation to collect, segregate and dispose of SUPs. They also organised awareness meetings, rallies, workshops across the district on the need to curb SUPs even as they prepared and distributed cloth bags to the public.
As far as processing of recyclable waste is concerned, the GPs have tied up with local scrap dealers to facilitate safe disposal of dry waste. With the support of the state SBM-G, the process of forward linkages is being scaled up at the district level, towards partnering with waste management service providers. ITC is already working with ULBs and it has set up 4 Dry Resource Collection Centres (DRCCs) in Kothagudem, Yellandu, Manuguru, Palvancha which are functional, and taking the load from both the urban and rural areas. All GPs have been instructed to transport their plastic waste to their nearest DRCC. Also, steps toward quantification and characterization of waste are taken up with the support of WASH-I, so that forward linkages of non-recyclable waste are possible. New DRCCs have also been proposed under SBM(G) to cover the gaps in convergence with ULBs.
Liquid Waste Management (LWM): Considerable focus is being given to individual magic soak pits at the household level in most GPs. Greywater is also disposed of through drains constructed under MGNREGS and these drains lead to community soak pits that effectively treat waste water and help recharge the ground water table. The District Administration has instructed all the GPs to take up soak pits, both individual and community, in a mission model where 6 GPs in every Mandal are to be saturated with LWM activities by the end of this Financial Year. So far 32,791 individual soak pits and 1,331 community soak pits have been constructed.
ODF Plus achievements: So far, the district has declared all its 479 GPs as ODF Plus Aspiring, ensuring toilet access to all households and institutions, and constructing the required SWM assets, and ensuring their effective functioning. The district is also far ahead in creating awareness on ODF plus activities by ensuring that all the GPs have IEC messages, prominently placed in public spaces. Besides, all GPs in the district have been directed to attain ODF Plus model status by achieving 100 per cent LWM coverage.
Not only are GPs being targeted to attain ODF Plus model status, the district administration is also planning to establish DRCCs and Faecal Sludge Treatment Plants (FSTPs) to ensure ODF Plus status for the entire district. In this regard, it has proposed 4 FSTPs in 4 ULBs, that will also cater to rural HHs with septic tanks. This will ensure the safe disposal of fecal sludge across the district.