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Bill Gates Praises ‘Swacch’ India, Says It’s ‘Winning the War on Human Waste’

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Under government initiative ‘Swacch Bharat’ India is working towards becoming defecation free by 2nd October 2019. In his latest blog entry, Bill Gates highlights the positive impacts of the efforts to achieve this so far. 

This week, Bill Gates declared that “India is winning its war on human waste.” In an entry published on the Microsoft co-founder’s official blog page, he discusses the efforts made, both by government and local people, and the progress achieved so far as India works towards its goal of becoming open-defecation free by October 2, 2019.

The blog entry was followed up by an official tweet from Gates publicly applauding PM Narendra Modi for putting “a spotlight on a subject that most of us would rather not talk about.”

 

Gates has a vested interest in India’s sanitation issues as improving the world’s sanitation is a big focus of his foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Consequently, the foundation supports the government initiative Swachh Bharat and is working closely with the Indian government in support of the initiative’s aims.

The Gates foundation and the Indian government are working together to improve sanitation in India. Photo Source: Wikimedia

Gates writes that at the start of the initiative, just 42% Indian’s had access to proper sanitation. Today, that figure stands at 63%. Gates also states that 30% of Indian villages can now declare to be open-defecation free, up from 8% in 2015.

Individuals across the country have been stepping up and making grand efforts to improve not only their lives, but the lives of others around them.  Awasthi, a 35 year-old resident of Baba Ghat, took on the task of improving her village sanitaion and water supply. She went door-to-door educating it’s residents and, with the help of an NGO Shramik Bharti, she sought government assitance with funding. As a direct impact of her efforts her village now has 45 toilets and it’s women and children no longer need to bear the daily shame of relieving themselves in public.


You can read more about these inspiring change-makers here: Three Women Leaders Are Leading the Sanitation Revolution in Kanpur. Find out How


A long road lies ahead of India towards it’s goal of becoming open-defecation free by October 2019. The realisation of such a lofty goal is an achievement that requires the collective efforts of an entire nation. Education and persuasion to change mindsets are crucial, along with providing the right facilities, to bring about a transformation of the issue of human waste management. The statistics provided by Gates offer a positive indication that India is heading in the right direction and, if continued in this way, will see India proudly declare come October 2019 that the the war on human waste has been won.

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Written by Lucy Plummer

Born in London, UK, Lucy has traveled the world before falling in love with India during a 9-month backpacking trip in 2016. She's passionate about humanity, culture, food and mountains.