The importance of sanitation in Nagaland
Kezhokhoto Savi, Advocate & President NVCO
[dropcap]S[/dropcap]anitation is safely disposal of human excreta (faeces & urine), keeping oneself, house and surrounding clean so that the conducive condition is created for good personal and community health. It is making cleanliness a habit and a way of life. It is the maintenance of hygienic condition through services such as garbage collection and waste water disposal. Sanitation is the basic and general principles for governing the dignity and healthy life by preventing hazards of waste and proper disposal of sewage. Mahatma Gandhi father of the Nation during his leading to the national movement for independence has once said – “Sanitation is more important than independence”. Sanitation is not only for our environment but it is also important for our health, dignity and development. Clean water, sanitation, personal hygienic & good nutrition are the four foundation of good public health. Let us say – “Sanitation for health”. It is very important to keep us good health. Lack of proper sanitation and clean water has causes many diseases and the spread of diseases of the significant diseases that arises from poor sanitation is diarrhea and most of the affected are young children below the age of 5 years. More than 1000 children die everyday in India because of diarrhea, cholera, malaria, hepatitis and other related diseases.As per the report of Nagaland Pollution Control Board an amount of 40 to 45 tones of garbage are waste everyday in Kohima town and the Kohima Municipal Council(KMC) could able to collect only 30 to 35 tones of garbage everyday and the rest are remain in the waste bins or roadside bins and pollutes the environment. Waste management is based on the basic principles of three ‘R’ i.e Reduce, Reuse & Recycle. Reduce the amount of waste you throw. Do not buy items that you need to be thrown soon. Reuse items that you possess and thing before you throw away. Recycle – waste safely, for recycling can save resources and energy. Another problem is little we generate and the approximate time it takes to degenerate such as organic waste like vegetables and fruit peels leftover foodstuff, etc takes 1-2 weeks to degenerate, paper 10-30 days, cotton clothes 2-5 months, wood 10-15 years, woolen items 1 yr, tin aluminum and other metal items like can 100-500 years, plastic bags one million years and glass bottles which is undermined for its degenerate. Absence of good sanitation in Kohima town are such as lack of proper toilet facilities and drainage system, waste are disposed off in the street and creating a foul smell and terrible living conditions for inhabitants. Even the general public fails to do on their part such as when they see a newly constructed drain or even before completion they tend to throw all sorts of domestic waste thinking that drainage is waste bin. Not only that some people even built latrine and pigsty on top of the drainage and clogs the drains. During rainy season some of the citizens have uncivilized habits of opening septic tanks at peak hours. Taking advantage of rainfall they open their septic tanks and creating a very terrible and unbearable smell. Sometime the smells are so strong that no matter what you do to make the smell disappear it won’t just go away and which is also very dangerous to the people with a health problem. Everyone has the right to live in a clean surrounding and a fresh air to breath but most of the citizens in Kohima are deprived of such rights because of the action of some few selfish and uncivilized individuals. Another category of citizens may be they keep their home and surrounding clean but when it comes to public utility, public places, streets and hospitals it is totally different and unclean. We see different kinds of garbage like bottles, cans, sweets and chips covers littering everywhere on the streets and roadside of the town. We also see the saliva spit of paan and tamed on the wall where it is written ‘Do not spit on the wall’. Our people have also uncivilized habits of urinating everywhere anytime whenever they feel like even not sparing the source of water. We also see a huge amount of garbage at the very foot of big sign board where it is written ‘Do not throw garbage here’. Mother Teresa said – “If everyone would clean their own doorstep the whole world would be clean”.
Inadequate sanitation facilities and absence of hygienic facilities in the educational institutions leave tremendously decline the trend of enrolment and increasing dropouts among the school going children. Any school having no proper sanitation facilities, diseases like diarrhea and worm infection are likely to spread and these are two major health conditions that affect school age children, impacting their learning abilities. Everyone of us want to live a good and healthy life but many a time we miserably fail on our part to learn the ways and means of ensuring good health. Food, cloth and shelter alone cannot provide us a complete good health but also with sanitation a person is said to have secured sound health free from all kinds of harmful diseases. Therefore, Sanitation is the basic foundation of human growth and development.
Since sanitation deals largely with ‘waste’ of which waste is defined as “any materials/liquid that is left over after productive use or which is beyond any use in its current form and is generally discarded as unwanted”. Waste can be categorized into solid waste and liquid waste and if these wastes are not treated or disposed off properly then it can cause human health and environment hazard. Sanitation is a very serious issue that is affecting most parts of the world especially the developing countries and India is no exception. When we speak about sanitation, it is not just about our toilets and infrastructure but it is also about our social and behavioral changes which cannot be achieved by overnight and will take time and the time to act is now. There is a need to change the mindset of our people. U.S President Barack Obama said , “Change will not come if we wait for someone or some other time. We are the ones we have been waiting for. We are the change we seek”.