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The Sanitation Station 


This newsletter is a primer on everything you need to know about Sanitation and eGov's Sanitation mission for this month

Latest from the Mission 

1. UNDP workshop

The Sanitation Mission conducted a 3-day bootcamp with UNDP Indonesia to understand how to use DIGIT to build end-end traceability of infectious medical waste. We had a session from Jojo Mehra on the power of building blocks, T Krishnakumar on APIs and Registeries, Rohit Dega on product frameworks, and Subhashini Srinivasan on building and deploying with DIGIT, with Tahera Bharmal and Aveek De organising and orchestrating the whole bootcamp. We are now waiting for UNDP to convince Indonesia’s Ministry of Environment about the need for interoperale solutions to handle infectious medical waste — their Ministry of Health is already on-broad with DIGIT! 


2. SBM Mission Director 

Sanitation Mission Leader Aveek De met with Roopa Mishra, the National Mission Director of the Swachh Bharat Mission, to discuss the potential of a National Platform for Sanitation, while drawing on the strides we've made with the FSSM solution in Odisha. Ms. Mishra, intrigued by the power of the platform, posed a new puzzle: how can the power of platforms be used to solve the country's legacy waste and landfill crisis? 

3. Making our presense felt with the NFSSMA 

In January, Shrija Rao presented the DIGIT FSSM roadmap at the partners meet in Odisha and also called out how the platform can achieve outcomes mapped to the international CWIS (city-wide inclusive sanitation) approach. In February, the sanitation mission hosted 20 people from the NFSSMA (National Faecal Sludge and Septage Management Alliance) at the eGov office (with another 20 joining us virtually) — we received many compliments about the food, the space and the merchandise we organised for the event!


eGov has been a member of the NFSSM Alliance — a consortium of the most prominent players in Sanitation — for over a year now, and through these sustained engagements, we've truly made our presence felt amongst ecosystem partners!

4. Successful Business Models in FSSM

Aveek De presented the digital FSSM solution deloyed in Odisha at The 

Global Expo in Kerala, organised by the Local Self-Government Department (LSGD) Principal Directorate. The  three-day international conference organised many events for the exchange of ideas and opportunities in waste management — eGov's DIGIT FSSM solution was one of the ideas on display during the conference!

What's up in Sanitation? 

How much tech is too much tech: Several Indian cities – including Chandigarh, Indore, Panchkula, Nagpur and Navi Mumbai – have sanitation workers wearing GPS enabled smartwatches, also known as Human Efficiency Tracking Systems. The watches have a GPS tracker, a camera for sending pictures as proof of attendance and a microphone —  At the monitoring municipal corporation’s HQ, they appear as green dots on a screen. The sanitation workers have complained of mental health stress, privacy concerns, pay-loss fears due to technical glitches and lack of more basic support to aid their work. The municipal corporation in Chandigarh, pays $265,000 (22Lakhs)/year to rent the smartwatches from the IT company IMTAC India Pvt Ltd. 

Legacy waste processing challenges: Remediation of legacy dumpsites is an area of interest under SBM 2.0 and AMRUT 2.0 (2021-2026), but there’s specific interest in clearing dumpsites in Delhi ahead of the G20 summit in September 2023. The Municipal Corporation of Delhi is hard at work to flatten three landfills that have exceeded their capacity — Ghazipur (70 acres), Okhla (46 acres), and Bhalswa (36 acres) — by early 2024. But experts say even five years is not enough; they recommend a ban on fresh dumping on top of legacy waste and increasing the current capacity of garbage processing. As on September 2022, there was 203 lakh MT of legacy garbage dumped in these three sites — of this, only 33.5 per cent (68 lakh metric tonnes) has been processed.

/campaigns/egovmarketing/sitesapi/files/images/60017851156/1_1024x576.png  Image: All About Landfills 

The road to repurposing waste: The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) asked the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) to provide it 364,000 tonnes of garbage from the Ghazipur and Okhla landfills to be used in the construction of Urban Extension Road (UER) 2, the third ring road of the Capital. Inert material (waste which is neither chemically nor biologically reactive and will not decompose or only very slowly) will be provided from the bio-mining project at the city’s landfills. Bio-mining separates various components of legacy waste such as plastic, paper, cloth, sand and bricks by passing them through a trammel screening machine.

India’s Methane emissions are for survival: 
India refused to sign the ‘Global Methane Pledge’, a proposal launched in the 2021 Conference of Parties (COP26) by the US and the EU to target a 30 per cent reduction in global methane emissions by 2030 over 2020 emission levels — the argument was that methane emissions are fundamentally 
‘survival’ emissions and not ‘luxury’ emissions, as is the case with the West. The two main sources of methane are ‘enteric fermentation’ (methane from the intestines of animals) and paddy cultivation (from standing water) — this means the pledge can affect India’s trade and economic prospects. 

Behavior-change through disincentives: With stinking leachate flowing out of a dumpsite (Sonsoddo) in Margao, Goa, sanitation decision makers reached a tipping point — notices are being issued to those without sewage connections, and their water supply might be disconnected if they don’t apply for one!

Events on the horizon

Women's Day — Stronger Together

The Sustainable Sanitation Alliance and the wonderful women's network will jointly host a virtual Water Women's Day on Tuesday, 7 March. The sessions include mentoring opportunities, safe sessions for women to share their experiences of working in the WASH sector and networking possibilities. Explore more here

World Water Day

This year, World Water Day will be celebrated on March 22, to call attention to the need to accelerate change in solving the water and sanitation crisis. Overlapping with that, the United Nations 2023 Water Conference will be held in New York. To complement the UN 2023 Water Conference with hopeful and inspiring activities, the Netherlands and Tajikistan have joined forces with the New York City government for New York Water Week. There will be workshops, high level discussions, hackathons and much more.

Wash Economics Conference 

LSHTM and IFS are organising a new academic conference focused on WASH economics on 30-31 March, 2023. It will be hybrid, both in-person at LSHTM in London and streamed on Zoom. Register here before Feb 27 — attendance free. 

All Systems Connect 

The 3-day World Forum to be held at The Hague from May 2-4 is designed to help changemakers from water, sanitation and hygiene, public health, climate resilience, economic development, social justice, to connect with purpose, work on collective solutions, and strengthen our capabilities as systems leaders. Know more about the event here

Global Hygiene Summit

The Global Hygiene Summit 2023 will create a forum for multi-level and multi-disciplinary discussions around hygiene science, behaviour, economics, and real-world experiences which can shape policy and drive better public health outcomes globally. The summit, to be held in Singapore from 6-8 December, will be organized in partnership with National Centre for Infectious Diseases (Singapore) and WaterAid, and in collaboration with the World Bank, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Registerations now open — click here.

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