VISAKHAPATNAM: Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) will adopt the National Policy on Faecal Sludge and Septage Management (FSSM) soon. The decision was taken on Wednesday night in a meet conducted by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP) with the vacuum truck operators (VTOs)
On Wednesday night, the USAID and the WSUP along with the officials of GVMC took part in a meet with the city-based vacuum truck operators (VTOs) to discuss effective septage management techniques. Paul Seong and Tom Schumacher from the USAID, Amanda West from the Mercy Corps and Robert Martin and Akhilesh Gautam from the WSUP Advisory interacted with the VTOs and learnt about the issues.
It was discussed that though the city has been moving towards effective urban sanitation management, faecal sludge management is still a concern as only about 40 per cent households of the city is connected to the sewerage system. Around 84 per cent of the septage goes untreated into the environment. Still, around 59 per cent households have on-site facilities which are emptied and serviced by local septic tank-emptiers through vacuum trucks. It was also discussed that though the GVMC officials had earmarked some STPs to treat the faecal smudge, many septic tanker owners were not disposing of at the designated places and they are going by their own convenience, they opined.
Not regulated either by the GVMC or other statutory bodies, they were undertaking relative strong self-regulation.
GVMC’s chief medical and health officer A Hemanth said that they would act strict on the present issue within the next six months by forming regulations regarding standard operating procedure and licences of VTOs. He said that imposition of fines and enforcement of the policy will be done in the next six months. The VTOs who were present in the meeting explained their issues to the officials, such as lack of safety, vulnerability to various diseases, lack of safety equipments.