TAMIL NADU URBAN SANITATION SUPPORT PROGRAMME
Lack of adequate sanitation poses one of the greatest barriers for Tamil Nadu in achieving its full development potential, and ensuring high standards of public health for her citizens. While sewerage and treatment plants have received policy attention and investments in larger cities of the State, on-site systems that are the predominant household arrangements across the State, have received limited attention.
Moreover, the pits and septic tanks are not built properly; hence fecal matter leaks out untreated from these structures into drains, water bodies and open areas. These septic tanks are also not de-sludged regularly creating major health and environmental hazards. Limited data is available on the coverage and effectiveness of these de-sluding services as these are mostly operated by the informal sector. The sludge collected from septic tanks is often disposed into either natural storm water drainage systems or a nearby surface water body, especially in the absence of any treatment facilities.
Tamil Nadu Sanitation Mission:
Tamil Nadu becomes a fully sanitized and healthy state, substantially eliminating open defecation, achieving improvements through the entire sanitation value chain, safely disposing an increasing proportion of its human excreta, and re-using/ recovering resources therefrom.
Sewerage (UGD) systems in many locations suffer from problems of maintenance; the sewage generated does not reach the treatment plants in many instances, and the existing sewage treatment plants are unable to treat the waste received. Finally, Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) and other urban sector agencies have not recognised the full cycle of sanitation, especially on-site installations, as an item needing their attention.
The Govt. of Tamil Nadu (GoTN) has been a pioneer in not only recognising the above challenges as core to improved standards of public health, but has also prioritised the full sanitation chain, including the strengthening of septage management as an economical and sustainable complement to network-based systems. The Chief Minister has clearly articulated the need to address sanitation in the coming years. Following this, the “Namma Toilet” (“Our Own Toilet”) or Public Toilets were rolled out in urban areas. The GoTN issued Septage Management Operative Guidelines in September 2014. In addition to GoTN’s own investments in urban sanitation, the current policy environment in India prioritises urban sanitation at scale. Septage management has become eligible for funding under AMRUT, while the Swachh Bharat Mission of the Government of India, aims at improving access to toilets.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) is supporting the GoTN to achieve the Sanitation Mission of Tamil Nadu by helping set up a Technical Support Unit (TSU) within the MAWS. This Unit will support the State in improving urban sanitation and demonstrate innovations along the entire sanitation chain in two selected model urban locations.
The TSU provides support for improved sanitation via the following program components that will be implemented at the State level and in at least two cities.The components are 1) Improved Enabling Environment and Governance, 2) Engineering and Planning, 3) Implementation Support, 4) Behaviour Change and Communication, 5) Enterprise Development, 6) Capacity Building and Training, 7) Knowledge Management, and 8) Monitoring, Learning and Evaluation.