Sanitation and Hygiene: Not an Option but a Compulsion

Sanitation and Hygiene: Not an Option but a Compulsion

“Cleanliness is next to Godliness’’

 Status and Facts – 

But, on the flip side, 2.4 billion people which is more than 32 % of the world’s population lack basic sanitation ( Ref. Centre for Disease control). Almost one billion of these people have no sanitation facility and practice open defecation. In lucid language what sanitation means is that it encompasses public health conditions related to clean drinking water, disposal of human excreta, sewage, keeping places free from dirt, infection, diseases, etc. by removing waste, clearing trash, and garbage in a routinely planned manner. Around the world, over 800 children under age five die every day from preventable diarrhea related diseases caused by lack of good water, lack of proper sanitation, and hygiene.

The word sanitation is synonymous with cleanliness, disinfection, asepsis, hygiene, and hygienic. Sanitation and hygiene go hand in hand. World Health Organization ( WHO ) defines sanitation as the provision of facilities and services for the safe disposal of human urine and faeces. 

When this safe disposal process is altered, good practices are not maintained and there is an issue of cleanliness the healthy relationship of mankind is destroyed and subsequently, the normal functioning of the body gets disturbed, a person may start suffering from diseases like communicable diseases and non-communicable diseases.  

  • Communicable Diseases – Infectious diseases transmitted from person to person through direct contact and also may spread through indirect methods such as through air, contaminated food, water, etc. The usually responsible pathogens ( i.e., infectious agents or germs ) are Viruses ( causing the common cold, flu, chickenpox, influenza, conjunctivitis), Bacteria ( causing cholera, tuberculosis, typhoid, tetanus, etc. ), Protozoa ( single-celled organisms ) causing malaria, amoebic dysentery, etc. ), Worms ( causing filariasis, ascariasis, etc.)
  • Non-communicable diseases ( NCD ) – Non-infectious or non-transmissible diseases usually happens by genetic, physiological, lifestyle, and environmental factors. NCD’s though may not have direct linkage with sanitation but in cause potentially serious socioeconomic consequences, through increasing individual and household impoverishment and hindering social and economic development. The improper sanitation and hygiene negatively influence the mental, spiritual, emotional, intellectual, and social health of an individual suffering from NCD.

Consequences Of Poor Sanitation – 

As we understand the consequence of poor sanitation may be broadly in two categories and those cause a heavy burden of diseases globally. 

  • Infectious Burden – The contaminated, impure, unclean water accounts majorly for diarrhea causing an estimated 1.4 million deaths annually, Over one billion people are at risk of soil-transmitted helminth (STH) infections ( Helminth is macro parasitic worms) which leads to nearly five million disabilities or in other words five million years of healthy life lost, while schistosomiasis (parasitic flatworms called schistosomes) causes the loss of a further two million (Murray et al., 2013Pullan et al., 2014). Trachoma (an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis ) is the leading infectious cause of blindness in the world (Resnikoff et al., 2004), responsible for the visual impairment of 2.2 million people with a total of 1.2 million irreversibly blind (Pascolini and Mariotti, 2011), 142 million children are stunted.  
  • Nutritional Burden – Poor sanitation can hugely and adversely impact the nutritional life of mankind, especially to children. The nutrition outcomes included underweight, wasting, and stunting, which was all measured through anthropometry (weight, age, and height) and based on WHO child growth standards. All study settings and populations were eligible, except for the anthropometric outcomes, which only included children as per the protocol for the nutritional status review by Dangour et al. (2013).

Types of Sanitation – 

In a nutshell, we can divide the sanitation into two basic types –

  • On-Site Sanitation – On-site sanitation includes those where excreta and wastewater are collected, stored, or treated or disposed near the plot or site of the toilet. There can be two main categories – Wet & Dry. Pit latrines, septic tanks, pour-flush latrines, ventilated improved pits, etc. are some examples. Increased numbers of source contamination and higher incidences of water-borne diseases especially during monsoon season is very common. 
  • Off-Site Sanitation – Off-site sanitation includes those in which excreta are collected from the individual toilets and carried away from the plot to be disposed of. The off-site sanitation has two main categories – Decentralized system where two or more houses are linked to a small bore sewer leading to a communal treatment system. The other category is – Wastewater system which is a process to remove contaminants from wastewater or sewage. 

Breaking the Sanitation Barrier – 

  • Must wash our hands before and after eating, Suggested hand washes are – Check On Amazon and Hand sanitizer may also be used Check On Amazon
  • Vegetables and fruits should be washed before consumption. Suggested – Check On Amazon
  • Food should be kept covered to avoid contamination. Suggested lids – Check On Amazon
  • Using boiled water during the rainy season is recommended. 
  • Twice brushing of teeth in a day and cutting nails regularly are also recommended.
  • One must take seasonal fruits, balanced nutritious diet – Check On Amazon
  • Avoiding tobacco and maintaining a healthy weight is critical.
  • We must get vaccinated and must keep ourselves confined if any kind of signs and symptoms of infection is observed.
  • Soak or spray items with the sanitizing solution. – Check On Amazon
  • Promoting good hygiene habits through education and awareness programs.
  • Improve sanitation facilities by providing toilets and latrines that flush into a sewer or safe enclosure.
  • Every locality has to maintain a garbage box and that needs to be cleaned at least once in a day. The people staying in the said area must ensure the daily cleaning else it needs to be brought in the eyes of municipal or corporation authority as soon as possible.
  • Sanitation drive or sanitation awareness programs are crucial. Under ‘Mission Swachh Bharat’ our honorable Prime Minister has appealed to all citizens to dedicate 100 hours in a year towards cleanliness.

Concluding Quotes –

    “Be the change you want to see in others” – M.K. Gandhi

    As rightly said by Peter Senge that “ All Great Things Have Small Beginning” so, let us start today taking a small initiative to do some activities towards a cleaned, sanitized, safe, disinfected, hygienic, and civilized society where good people will eventually become good citizens.

     Cleanliness is one of the major integral part of it as “ A Clean Hand Deserves Two Thumbs up” 

     Are you committed to accelerate the sanitation drive Right Now? Start today ! Start from your home – Check On Amazon

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