Curbing open urination is next step

Under new norms, cities and towns wanting to be declared ODF+ (Open Defecation Free Plus) must also be free of public urination and not just open defecation. This is the first time that the Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban) is officially including the elimination of public urination in its agenda. The rural division of SBM had previously said preventing public urination was not on their agenda. The Mission is focussed on infrastructure and regulatory changes, on the assumption that this will lead to behaviour change. “Cities are different from rural areas,” SBM-U mission director Vinod Kumar Jindal told The Hindu . “In the case of urban areas, the problem is not one of usage, but of availability…In cities, if toilets are available, accessible and clean, people will automatically use them rather than using the road.” Sustainability is key The ODF+ and ODF++ protocols, which were released by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs last week, are the next step for the SBM-U and aim to ensure sustainability in sanitation outcomes. The original ODF protocol, issued in March 2016, said, “A city/ward is notified as ODF city/ward if, at any point of the day, not a single person is found defecating in the open.” So far, 2,741 cities have been certified as ODF, based mostly on third-party verification of toilet construction. The new ODF+ protocol, issued last week, says that a city, ward or work circle could be declared ODF+ if, “at any point of the day, not a single person is found defecating and/or urinating in the open, and all community and public toilets are functional and well-maintained.”

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