Poor use of sanitation systems by end-users and the lack of public resources exacerbates the problem for sanitation workers.

Civic sense:

Low civic sense on how to use systems and lack of resources leads to break-down necessitating manual intervention.

  • Throwing of bottles and cigarettes, sanitary pads into PTs leads to systems not
    working and cleaners have to clean excreta manually.

  • Institutional and hotel waste in drains/sewers, illegal dumping of waste in manholes leads to blockages which then need to be cleared manually.

  • Infrequent desludging (10 vs. 3 years) leads to accumulation of sludge necessitating entry into septic tanks.

Lack of resources/systems:

  • Broken flushes in CTs, school toilets lead to accumulation of faecal matter which workers have to clean manually. Insanitary latrines connected to open drains exposes drain cleaners to faecal matter.

No disincentives for users given lack of traceability:

  • Difficult to track users of toilets given the footfall, difficult to identify users illegally accessing the sewer/drainage system.

Septic tank design guidelines and desludging schedule are not binding:

  • There is no tracking of desludging frequency and associated fines (e.g., septic tanks in Agra generally do not conform to the design and the effluent is allowed to flow into open drains).

Improve civic sense; upgrade infrastructure to incorporate for accountability.

This insight applies to all types of unsafe sanitation work:

What this entails: Unblocking and cleaning sewer and wastewater drains

Frequency: Complaint-based, seasonal (rainy season) and occasionally for preventive maintenance

Location: Urban areas

What this entails: Emptying, collection and transport of human waste from septic tanks on an on-demand basis

Frequency: De-sludging frequency varies greatly, ranging from 6 months to 10-15 years

LocationPrimarily urban, mostly unplanned localities

What this entails: Cleaning faecal matter from railway tracks and platforms,railway toilets and platform toilets

Frequency: several times a day

Location: Rail network and railway stations

What this entails: Emptying of dry/single-pit latrines primarily in rural areas; daily collection and transport/emptying of fecal matter

LocationPrimarily rural

What this entails: Maintaining and operating sewage and faecal sludge treatment plants on a daily basis

LocationUrban, across the ~527 STPs/FSTPs in India

What this entails: Maintaining public/community toilets (often insanitary) on a daily basis

Location: Rural and urban CTCs, mostly in slums; public convenience shelters

What this entails: Operating and maintaining school toilets on a daily basis

LocationSchools – rural and urban

What this entails: Cleaning open drains and road sweeping, often encountering fecal matter due to open defecation and insanitary latrines connected to drains

LocationUrban – drains alongside roads

What this entails: Cleaning toilets in middle-high income households/institutions, encountering insanitary conditions at times

LocationUrban areas

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