At Sociotech Innovation4Change we are addressing the grave issue of waste management, sanitation and hygiene that India is battling with.
Solid Waste Management has become an important consequence of modernization and development. In India this is of concern because as the country modernises further it is producing more waste than it can handle. The ‘use and throw’ disposable culture is making matters even worse. Many cities already have a garbage crisis with trash spilling onto the streets. This in turn seeps into water bodies contaminating it and leading to spread of diseases. Germ-free tap water is almost rare.
This problem is accentuated further when citizens and civic administrations do not involve themselves in sustainable waste practices. Solid Waste Management (SWM) is one among the basic essential services provided by municipal authorities in the country to keep urban centres clean. However, almost all municipal authorities deposit solid waste at a landfill within or outside the city haphazardly. Experts believe that India is following a flawed system of waste disposal and management. Statistics show that if garbage is dumped at the current rate without suitable interventions, there will be more landfills than open spaces. One of India’s fast growing sectors is recycling of hazardous waste – by the poor- naturally. Can a nation like ours afford such a grim situation? The presence of human waste and garbage everywhere triggers and supports a shared sense of shame, instead of a shared sense of national pride.
The other issue that India grapples with is the challenge of making itself, open defecation-free.How do we react to the fact that 53% of Indian households have a cell phone but about 50% still have no option but to defecate in the open (Census of India 2011, available at http://censusindia.gov.in).It is also ironical that thousands of toilets lie abandoned all over India. Why have they been abandoned? There have been incentive programmes like Nirmal Gram Puraskar to promote complete sanitation coverage, but these have had only partial success.
Why is this the case? What can we do to bring about complete sanitation coverage with waste management in India? These are the central queries and quests that have led to the creation of Sti4change and defined our purpose.
Sociotech Innovation4Change, founded in May 2012 by Shyama V. Ramani and Sangeeta Venkatesh, is a Private Limited Not for Profit – Incorporated under Section 25 of the Companies Act of 1956.