Society for Community Health Awareness Research and Action

Report on Environmental sanitation and waste management, Thanjavur 2015

By Prahlad

As a follow up of the Sanitation Workshop held last month at SOCHARA, Thangavi Jana Seva Bhavan (TJSB) an NGO organised a 2 day training programme on ‘Environmental sanitation and waste management’ at Thanjavur, Tamilnadu on 19th- 20th August, 2015. Mr. Ganesh an alumnus of CHLP and Ms. Shyamla (Ganesh’s mother) facilitated the training programmes and accompanied us during our field visits to rural and urban areas of Thanjavur. On 19thAugust we visited semi urban areas of Thanjavur during which Ganesh and his team organised an orientation programme on solid and liquid waste management for self-help group (SHG) members who are interested to work on waste management. The orientation was conducted for the members, through pictorial presentations and documentary videos in the local language, on segregation of waste, low cost waste management technologies, converting waste into wealth and the local problems of waste collection were also discussed. After the presentation the group agreed to work on waste management starting with their households through proper segregation, separation, reduction and avoiding usage of plastic bags.

On 20th August, Ganesh, his team and I visited a nearby rural area to understand the sanitation conditions in Thanjavur. During our visit we found that of the 256 households in the village only 52 have toilets and most of the men are not using them. Ganesh and his team, subsequently, mobilised the community for discussions on sanitation problems. We conducted the triggering activity of Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) method by doing various exercises with the community. During this activity we felt that most community members understood problems associated with the open defecation such as gender, mental health, and community cultural aspects.  The community decided to achieve total sanitation by August 2016 through construction of toilets in every household, and by developing a proper solid and liquid waste management system. They requested technical support for construction of low cost toilets.