Machines are not designed for the full range of use cases and procedural bottlenecks in India necessitating human intervention.

Workers developing artificial relationships with machines; unable to use machines properly:

  • Machines designed with hybrid-human requirement, but failure to train workers on their usage leads to primitive use of the machines (e.g., workers need to guide hoses into manhole chambers by entering themselves).

Assignments require dexterity, but machines rely on high-pressure based brute-force methods like jetting and suction applicable only for select cases:

  • Jetting and suction operations can only be used in select cases but replacements do not exist for tactical tasks such as removing silts with sickles.

Equipment not designed for Indian context:

  • Machines can’t enter narrow lanes (3 ft. wide lanes in Bombay) which have internal lines, which account for ~80% of the blockages.

  • Auto-mounted solutions have been tried but with limited success since constant refilling of tanks is required because of limited water capacity.

  • Machines are outdated and there is little incentive or motivation to improve them .

  • Basic design of desludging trucks hasn’t changed in 15+ years .

  • Contracting process not designed to incentivise innovation- tenders are meted out on basis of lowest price and pre-determined specifications .

  • Lack of real-world testing of machines and a lack of third-party audits on design of machines and whether they can actually work without human intervention .

Incentivise innovation; build organic relationships between workers and machines.

This insight applies to 1 type 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

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