BENGALURU: Only 57% of households in urban areas have improved sanitation facilities in Karnataka, according to Jagan Shah, Director, National Institute of Urban Affairs. He was speaking on Thursday at the two-day 4th National Summit for Sustainable Water and Sanitation being held here.
Rural areas in the state fared worse with just 42% having improved sanitation facilities. “It is also true that those states with better sanitation facilities are smaller, including north-eastern states and Union Territories,” he said on the sidelines of the event. The open defecation-free status being accorded to various districts could be an eyewash though, he added.
Also, with respect to households with improved drinking water source, 89% were in urban areas and 88% in rural areast. He was citing numbers from the National Family Health Survey of 2015-16. “Karnataka, and particularly Bengaluru, is having one of the oldest water supply and sewerage boards in the country,” he said.
At the summit, national policies and initiatives to improve water and sanitation in India, like the National Urban Sanitation Policy changes and expectations post October was discussed. The National Urban Sanitation Policy was launched in 2008 by the Ministry of Urban Development of India, to define integrated city-wide sanitation plans including institutional strengthening, awareness generation, behavioural changes, pro-poor approaches and cost effective technologies.
It aims at developing state sanitation strategies and city sanitation plans, that should lead to open defecation-free cities as well as sanitary and safe disposal of all human and liquid waste. “Around 3,500 cities in the country do not have a sewerage network. We don’t have the resources to bridge this gap,” he said.
At a time when there is water crisis everywhere and ground water levels and aquifers are drying up rapidly owing to climate change, world over many cities are heading to ‘Day Zero’.
Making water from thin air
Elixir H2O, an atmospheric water generator that produces clean alkaline drinking water from air, was launched by Minister for Urban Development U T Khader at the summit. The water generator comes in varying capacities starting from 10 litres per day to 5,000 litres per day. It condenses the humidity in the air to form water and then it passes through 13 stages of filtration. The air filter needs to be changed every 12 months.