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World Toilet Day 2021

Sanitation for All: “Valuing Toilets”

Co-hosted by the Missions of India, Nigeria and Singapore and supported by UN-Water

 

Remarks by Ambassador T.S. Tirumurti 

Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations

19 November 2021

 

 

H.E. Ambassador Burhan Gafoor, Permanent Representative of Singapore, 

H.E. Prof. Tijjani Muhammadad-Bande, Permanent Representative of Nigeria, 

Distinguished guests,

 

India is pleased to join Singapore and Nigeria in convening this important discussion on the occasion of World Toilet Day. I would like to extend my thanks to UN-Water for their support.

 

Excellencies, 

 

India will shortly celebrate the 75th anniversary of Independence Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav. This initiative commemorates an evolutionary journey of the people of India including reaffirming the commitment to achieving Sustainable Development Goals through various flagship programmes. And SDG 6 on water and sanitation remains a key focus. 

 

2. Sustainable sanitation essentially begins with a toilet that effectively captures waste in a safe, accessible and dignified setting. This year the theme for World Toilet Day is “Valuing Toilets”. And it echoes India’s resolve - “Toilet For All”.

 

3. Over the last few years, we have undertaken a formidable task to improve sanitation facilities across the country. We have successfully implemented the world’s largest behavioral change campaign with the Clean India Mission, building over 100 million hygienic toilets, leading to tremendous health benefits. It has particularly benefitted women and girls in schools and work places. 

 

4. We are now is phase 2 of Clean India Mission where we are focusing on continued usage of facilities created, greater hygiene awareness, providing sufficient water connections for sanitation systems and ensuring treatment and recycling of waste. This phase is also addressing the bigger question of waste treatment in cities, including mandatory garbage segregation, removal of landfill sites and composting.

 

5. I would like to share some of India’s experience and take-aways from the Clean India Mission:

 

  • Spirit of mass movement is the essence of the campaign’s success.
  • The role of women in management of water and sanitation facilities is imperative.
  • Involvement of State governments, local administration and cities councils in training and leading grassroot-level drives is vital in spreading awareness. 
  • Technology is an enabler in providing sustainable sanitation solutions. A host of multi-media communication campaigns featuring national celebrities, with a goal of 'making sanitation everyone's business' has provided a powerful momentum for change. There's a feature on Google Maps to help people find local public toilets and another to report unclean public areas.
  • Our Government is making a record investment on cleanliness, waste management and new sewage treatment plants. 
  • It is crucial to put in place Institutional arrangements with emphasis on education, training, participation and maintenance.

 

6. Amidst the global pandemic, basic sanitation and hygiene is now more important than ever. Covid has accentuated the divide between developed and developing countries, especially in the context of basic sanitation where families are confronted with the challenging decision on how best to use the limited resources they have. We need to use everything in our power to bridge this divide. We need to reinforce the fact that there is direct linkage between building toilets and improving sanitation and meeting the Sustainable Development Goals by improving health, nutrition status, promoting gender equity by keeping girls in schools, reducing poverty, enhancing ease of living and promoting an overall better environment. 

 

7. As we consider what must be done to get us back on track to achieve the SDGs by 2030 and better prepare societies for future global health crises, we need to look no farther than looking at cleanliness as a lifestyle. 

 

I thank you. 

 

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