Sanitation is broadly defined to include facilities and provisions that ensure management and safe disposal of human and solid waste. Unfortunately, the world is not on track to reach Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6) on Water and Sanitation before the deadline of 2030 as per the UN Report.
Lack of access to proper sanitation is a leading factor for infectious diseases including cholera, diarrhea, dysentery, hepatitis A, typhoid and COVID-19. It also exacerbates malnutrition, and in particular, childhood stunting. The sanitation crisis is most severe in rural areas. According to World Bank 2018 data, India’s 65.97% population lives in rural areas and rural sanitation is one of the biggest challenges plaguing the country, thereby posing a serious threat to the public health of communities across the country.
The Government of India launched the Swachh Bharat Mission on 2nd October 2014 with an aim to highlight and address India’s critical sanitation and waste management issues. In the past few years, India has made some progress with improved access to sanitation. However, accelerating sanitation coverage combined with educating the populace on better hygiene, sanitation and waste management practices is key for the national development agenda. Collaboration and partnership with the communities is crucial to the implementation of various sanitation programs.
Increasingly, corporations are rising to the occasion and joining hands with the Government, local bodies and NGOs to catalyze conversations around sanitation. Many launched various programs. Nayara Energy operates India’s 2nd largest single-site state-of-the-art refinery at Vadinar, Gujarat.
We have demonstrated deep commitment and strategic integration of social responsibilities as part of our corporate structure. We have been relentlessly working towards sustaining our CSR legacy of inclusive development and are committed to being a responsible “neighbor of choice” for the communities in Jamnagar and Devbhumi Dwarka districts. Along with other initiatives such as promoting livelihoods and providing access to healthcare, we have also been focused on issues related to sanitation and waste management at various levels including infrastructure, education and awareness.
Nayara Energy has been collaborating with local authorities to provide drinking water, encourage safe waste disposal, and promote adoption of improved hygiene practices. With education being a critical aspect to create awareness about sanitation and waste management, we hosted awareness drives, street plays, apart from driving the messaging through wall paintings to reinforce hygiene practices.
Good waste management practices serve as barriers to prevent contagious transmission of the infectious diseases including COVID-19 virus in homes, communities, health care facilities, and other public spaces. There is an apparent lack in the systemic tapping of the waste for proper treatment and processing facilities. Waste can be a resource and therefore, besides cleaning of villages on a regular basis, the segregated waste from more than 20,000 households is collected and in partnership with another company, we are responsibly recycling the waste.
This initiative has resulted in relatively cleaner homes and surroundings, enabling healthier and relatively disease-free and socially aware communities. Apart from driving Information, Education and Communication (IEC) initiatives to reinforce the message, we launched an employee volunteering initiative, Captain Swachh seeking active participation from our employees to become the change agents and ambassadors of sanitation and hygiene practices. Through the Captain Swachh initiative, our employees are leading cleanliness drives to over 3000 households educating the communities, showcasing best practices through various mediums including audio stories.
As the world battles one of the world’s deadliest virus outbreaks, the importance of efficient waste management cannot be over emphasized and require short and long-term measures.
True success lies in a collaborative approach where the Government, corporates, social institutions and communities combine sanitation efforts to make our communities clean and healthy.