Environmental Impact of the Swachh Bharat Mission

Published: June 7, 2019

A study was carried out by UNICEF for looking at the environmental impact of the Swachh Bharat Mission in 12 ODF and 12 non-ODF villages in three states of West Bengal, Odisha and Bihar which was based on 725 samples of water, soil, and food.

Findings of the Study

The non-ODF villages are more likely to face the risk of faecal contamination of groundwater which is observed through the following figures:

  • 12.7 times more likely to have their groundwater sources contaminated.
  • 2.40 times more likely to have their piped water contaminated.
  • 2.48 times more likely to have their household water (stored) contaminated.
  • 1.1 times more likely to have their soil contaminated.
  • 2.16 times more likely to have food contaminated.
  • 2.48 times more likely to have household drinking water contaminated.

Observations about the 3 states

  • In Bihar, the non-ODF villages showed 35.7 times higher groundwater contamination than ODF villages when compared to 6.6 times higher in West Bengal and 5.3 times higher in Odisha.
  • The relative risk of contamination (non-ODF to ODF) observed for piped water was 1.33 times more in Bihar, 2.73 times more in West Bengal and 1.50 times more in Odisha.
  • The relative risk of contamination (non-ODF to ODF) was 2.74 times more in Bihar, 4.14 times more in West Bengal and 1.44 times more in Odisha for household water (stored).
  • The relative risk of soil contamination (non-ODF to ODF) with faecal traceable to humans in non-ODF villages as compared to ODF villages was 1.21 times more in Bihar, 1.39 times more in West Bengal and 0.89 times more in Odisha.
  • The relative risk of food contamination (non-ODF to ODF) with faecal traceable to humans was 6.67 times more in Bihar; 8.47 times more in West Bengal and 1.14 times more in Odisha.
  • The report notes that in Odisha due to the sudden onset of rain during sampling resulted in decreased impact.

The report also notes that systems for solid and liquid waste management, including faecal sludge management and drainage need improvement to realise the full benefits of residing in ODF environments.

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