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  • FAQs
 
| Last Updated:: 03/12/2016

FAQs


Q. What is ENVIS?


Environmental information plays a vital role not only in formulating environmental management policies but also in the decision making process aiming at environmental protection and improvement of environment for sustaining good quality of life for the living beings. Hence, management of environment is key component and thus plays an important role in effecting a balance between the demands and resources available for keeping the environmental quality at a satisfactory level. Realizing such need Ministry set up an Environmental Information System (ENVIS) in 1983 as a plan programme as a comprehensive network in environmental information collection, collation, storage, retrieval and dissemination to varying users, which include decision-makers, researchers, academicians, policy planners and research scientists, etc. ENVIS was conceived as a distributed information network with the subject-specific centers to carry out the mandates and to provide the relevant and timely information to all concerned.For more information:- http://envis.nic.in/


Q. What is the purpose of this website?


The website enables easy and quick access to information available in the SulabhENVIS Centre’s database. It provides a convenient platform for interface between various user groups and the SulabhENVIS Centre, thereby facilitating easier interaction and exchange of information. In making available useful information from the Centre’s database and facilitating interaction with user groups, the site serves as an important link in the development of an exhaustive, reliable and authenticated information network.


Q. What is hygiene promotion?


Hygiene promotion encourages all the hygienic conditions and behaviours that can contribute towards good health. It aims to stimulate and facilitate the right behaviour changes. Usually, it starts with systematic data collection to find out and understand what different groups of people know about hygiene, what they do, what they want and why this is so. The results are used to set objectives and to identify and implement activities that enable the different groups to measurably reduce risky conditions and practices and to strengthen positive situations and behaviors.


Q. What is the difference between hygiene promotion and health promotion?


Hygiene promotion is more specific and more targeted than health promotion. It focuses on the reduction - and ultimately the elimination - of diseases and deaths that originate from poor hygiene conditions and practices. For example, good hygiene conditions and practices are enhanced when people can consume water that is safe, use sufficient amounts of water for personal and domestic cleanliness, and dispose of their solid and liquid wastes safely.

 

A person may have good hygiene behaviour, but not be healthy for other reasons. Good or bad health is influenced by many factors, such as the environment (physical, social and economic). For example, in social environments where people are marginalized because of their gender, economic status or religious affiliation, and have no influence whatsoever on decisions that affect their daily lives, they are likely to be prone to anxiety or depression, which can lead to mental problems.


Q. What is Occupational Hygiene?


'Occupational Hygiene is the discipline of anticipating, recognising, evaluating and controlling health hazards in the working environment with the objective of protecting worker health and well-being and safeguarding the community at large.'


Q. Is hygiene promotion the same as hygiene education?


No, it is not. Education usually means teaching people, e.g. about what makes them ill and what they must or must not do. Often it is didactic. In the case of hygiene education for example, the educators may want to teach people the germ theory of disease in order to discourage transmission through unhygienic practices. Such information has its place, e.g. when people themselves want to know how they can avoid getting a particular disease. However, successful promotional programmes do not 'instruct' people. They promote healthy conditions and practices in other, usually more effective, ways than 'teaching', e.g., by improving access to the means for better hygiene and health, social marketing, participatory learning, and peer influence. In hygiene promotion, the individuals and communities themselves review their hygiene practices and develop ways of improving them.


Q. Why is hygiene promotion important?


Most of the health benefits of water supply projects stem from changes in hygiene behaviour. While access to hardware itself can sometimes induce changes (such as increased water consumption), it is cost-effective to devote some resources to promoting the better hygiene behaviours that the new facilities make possible, and that have greater health impact than the hardware alone.


Q. What is the place of children in hygiene promotion?


Children are both a major target group and major actors in hygiene promotion programmes. Young children still need to build their resistance to infectious diseases. When under the age of five they are the most vulnerable to poor water supply, sanitation and hygiene. Some 6,000 children die every day from diseases associated with lack of access to safe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene - equivalent to 20 jumbo jets crashing every day.

 

At the same time, children are major actors when it comes to better practices. Children who acquire good habits when young will often practice these throughout their lives and pass them on to their own children. They often also have a positive influence on parents. Schools and school sanitation programmes play an important role in spreading good practices.


Q. How can the social marketing approach contribute to hygiene promotion?


Lessons from hygiene promotion and sanitation programmes have shown that social marketing is a good way to reach many people collectively in a short time and achieve the adoption of one or a few changes. Social marketing is less suitable for complex and comprehensive behaviour change and capacity building.


Q. What do we mean by hygiene behaviour?


Positive hygiene behaviours include a wide range of practices that promote health, and prevent catching and spreading water and sanitation related diseases. Our health-related behaviour is partly determined by a complex mix of our knowledge, beliefs, attitudes, norms and customs. Socio-economic determinants and even political factors also play important roles. Without the resources to construct and maintain water supply and sanitation facilities, it is difficult to attain levels of personal, domestic and environmental hygiene conducive to health. Resources relate not only to money, but also to the availability of land, time, materials, and technical and management skills for achieving improved facilities.


Q. What is hand hygiene?


Hand hygiene is a general term that applies to routine hand washing, antiseptic hand wash, antiseptic hand rub, or surgical hand antisepsis.


Q. What do we mean by “sanitation”?


The first challenge for most countries is to define what sanitation really means. The second challenge is to decide what aspects are most important. Sanitation as a whole is a “big idea” covering everything from safe collection, and disposal of human excreta (faeces and urine); to the management of solid wastes (trash or rubbish.) Each community, region or country must understand the most sensible and cost-effective way of thinking about sanitation, both in the short and long term, then establish appropriate national plans and priorities, and last but not least – implement.

 

It is important to understand that sanitation can act at different levels, protecting the household, the community and society. In the case of latrines it is easy to see that this sanitation system acts at a household level. However, poor design or inappropriate location may lead to migration of waste matter and contamination of local water supplies putting the community at risk. Further down affects of waterborne sewage contamination affect the entire society by ill health and environmental damage.

 

For countries with very low access to basic sanitation, the effective management of excreta at the household level may have the greatest health implications and benefits but may also be the biggest challenge. In other cases, for example, in a particularly congested urban community, some form of off-site (sewerage) sanitation may be the only viable choice. Yet, in other countries or communities a more complete solution might include a focus on protecting the environment.


Q. What do we mean by open defecation?


Open defecation is defined as defecation in fields, forests, bushes, bodies of water or other open spaces.

 


Q. Why is it important to stop open defecation?


Some of the harmful impacts of open defecation are as follows:

 

 

  • Spread of diarrheal diseases: Preventable diseases such as diarrhea linked to open defecation are among the highest causes of illness and death, especially of children, in developing countries. Feces defecated in the open come back to us through many ways.
  • Loss of human dignity: Open defecation results in loss of privacy and dignity, especially for women and girls. Safe and sustainable school latrines have been proven to be linked with continued education enrollment of teenage girls and young women, particularly at puberty.
  • Environmental pollution: Improperly disposed mostly is a major polluter of soil and water Intestinal worms affect nearly 30 percent of the bodies. This contributes to the spread of disease and population in developing countries depletes waters of oxygen that is needed to sustain aquatic life.

 

 

Q. What do successful sanitation programmes have in common?


Community- led and driven programmes that utilize local, sustainable technologies, coupled with an enabling environment and good partnerships between public and private sectors are the key factors in achieving universal sanitation and eliminating open defecation.


Q. What do we mean by sustainable sanitation?


The main objective of a sanitation system is to protect and promote human health by providing a clean environment and breaking the cycle of disease. In order to be sustainable a sanitation system has to not only be economically viable, socially acceptable and technically and institutionally appropriate, but it should also protect the environment and natural resources.


Q. Why does sanitation matter?


Lack of improved sanitation is a global crisis directly impacting the health, education, productivity and economic status of a household and often becoming the catalyst towards propelling a family out of poverty.

 

Improved sanitation and hygiene education will speed the achievement of all MDG’s, helping eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; achieve universal primary education; promote gender equality and empower women; reduce child-mortality; improve maternal health; combat HIV and AIDS; malaria and other diseases; as well as ensure environmental sustainability.


Q. What diseases are associated with poor sanitation?


Human excreta have been implicated in the transmission of many infectious diseases including cholera, typhoid, infectious hepatitis, polio, cryptosporidiosis, and ascariasis. Under nutrition, pneumonia, worm infestations, are also associated with unsafe water, poor sanitation and hygiene resulting in reduced physical growth, weakened physical fitness and impaired cognitive function, particularly for children under the age of five.

 

Infectious agents are not the only health concerns associated with wastewater and excreta. Heavy metals, toxic organic and inorganic substances also can pose serious threats to human health and the environment – particularly when industrial wastes are added to the waste stream.


Q. How does sanitation affect the environment?


Inadequate sanitation, particularly in the context of urbanization, allows for sewage or waste to flow directly into streams, rivers, lakes and wetlands, affecting coastal and marine ecosystems, fouling the environment and exposing millions of children to disease. Improved sanitation reduces environmental burdens, increases sustainability of environmental resources and allows for a healthier, more secure future for the population.


Q. What are some of the challenges developing countries and donors face in meeting the MDG targets on sanitation?


Eliminating disparities in access to sanitation are critical to achieving equitable access for all. Despite the fact that billions have gained access to improved sanitation, distribution to access is far from equitable. Ninety-nine percent of the population in the developed world use improved sanitation facilities as compared to 52 percent in the developing world. In addition, rapid population growth and climate change also hinder progress.


Q. Are both the MDG drinking-water and sanitation targets achievable?


The world has met the MDG target of halving the proportion of the population without access to safe drinking-water. However, current trends show that the MDG sanitation target will likely be missed. Regarding open defecation – the riskiest practice – there is some good news. The proportion of the world’s population that practices open defecation is on the decline, although 1.1 billion people are still practising open defecation.


Q. What are the economic benefits of investing in sanitation?


Financing sustainable sanitation is an investment in human development that yields high economic returns. Improved sanitation in developing countries yields an average of about US$9 for every one dollar spent. Increases in female literacy (due to increased school attendance where proper sanitation facilities exist) contribute to economic growth.

 

Inadequate sanitation leads to a number of financial and economic costs including, increased medical costs as well as lost income through reduced or lost productivity. Sanitation also leads to time and effort lost due to distant or inadequate sanitation facilities, reduced income from tourism (due to high risk of contamination and disease) and increased resilience to withstand extreme weather conditions.


Q. How feasible is it to change entrenched habits, like open defecation?


Numerous examples of successful change exist. More and more communities pride themselves in achieving the Open Defecation Free (ODF) status. Community-led Total Sanitation approaches that educate households, along with the availability of local and sustainable solutions and services, are a first step towards changing entrenched habits. Additionally, teaching school children facts about health risks and safe hygiene practices helps them develop essential life skills that they share with their families. These life skills also enable them to acquire and maintain healthy lifestyles, and to take greater responsibility for their own lives, as they become adults with families of their own.


Q. Are water and sanitation equally important?


Yes. Water and sanitation are integrally related and equally important for a life of health and dignity. Lack of safe sanitation is a major cause of contamination of water sources, so without safe sanitation, safe drinking water is impossible. Many diseases are caused by the lack of access to safe sanitation, or by poor quality water. Safe water is essential for hygiene.


Q. What is Total Sanitation Campaign?


Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC) was launched in 1999 advocating a shift from high subsidy to a low subsidy regime, greater household involvement, demand responsiveness, and providing for the promotion of a range of toilet options to promote increased affordability. It also gives strong emphasis on Information, Education and Communication (IEC) and social marketing for demand generation for sanitation facilities, to set up a delivery system through Rural Sanitary Marts (RSMs) and Production Centers (PC) and a thrust on school sanitation. TSC is implemented in a campaign mode-taking district as a unit so that 100 percent saturation in terms of households, Anganwadi and school toilets can be attained which would result in significant health benefits.


Q. What are the Rural Sanitation programmes implemented by MoRD?


Government of India had launched Central Rural Sanitation Programme (CRSP) in the year 1986 with the objective of accelerating sanitation coverage in rural areas. CRSP was restructured in the year 1999 exhibiting a paradigm shift in the approach and Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC) was introduced. At present, TSC is the only rural sanitation programme implemented by Ministry of Rural Development.


Q. What is the role of PRIs in TSC implementation?


As per the 73 Constitution Amendment Act, 1992, sanitation is included in the 11th Schedule and is the responsibility of the Panchayats. At the district level, Zilla Panchayat implements the project. Similarly, at the block and village levels, Panchayat Samiti and respective Gram Panchayats are involved in the implementation of TSC. Gram Panchayats have the pivotal role in the implementation of the Total Sanitation Campaign with Voluntary Organisations/ NGOs/ to mobilize for the construction of toilets and also maintain the clean environment by way of safe disposal of wastes. They have the main responsibility in the O&M of the common facilities constructed. Panchayats can also contribute from their own resources for School and Anganwadi Sanitation. Panchayats may also open and operate the Production Centres/Rural Sanitary Marts.


Q. What is the role of NGOs in TSC implementation?


NGOs have an important role in the implementation of TSC in the rural areas. They may be involved in IEC activities as well as in setting up PCs or RSMs.. Their services are required to be utilized not only for bringing about awareness among the rural people for the need of rural sanitation but also ensuring that they actually make use of the sanitary latrines. NGOs may also open and operate Production Centres and Rural Sanitary Marts. However, only, dedicated and motivated NGOs should be involved in TSC implementation.


Q. What is SSHE and what are the benefits of it?


School Sanitation and Hygiene Education popularly known as SSHE is a comprehensive and focused program intervention to promote childrens, right to have healthy and clean environment, and improve health and hygiene status among children and community. SSHE offers several benefits to children, community and society at large. It attempts to reduce diarrhea, intestinal worms, and eye infections and possibly reduces malaria and upper respiratory tract infections. It forms healthy habits in the future generation of adults and helps to improve sanitation and hygiene at home. Besides, it improves attendance in schools, especially of girls. For example in Bangladesh, a school sanitation program increased girls' enrolment by 11 percent (UNICEF).


Q. What are the facilities to be provided at school level under SSHE?


The following facilities can be provided at school level:

 

  • Toilets & urinals
  • Hand washing facilities
  • Water supply facilities
  • Healthy class rooms (lighting and ventilation) & play grounds
  • Garbage pit & soakage pit
  • Drainage system

 


Q. What kinds of schools are covered under TSC? Are private schools covered under TSC?


In TSC, only rural government schools are being covered with water supply, toilet and hand washing facilities. Pvt. Schools are supposed to have these basic facilities as they charge fees from students as well as for getting recognition from the education department of the respective state governments; they need to have these basic facilities. However, private schools may be included in the training program on health and hygiene education.


Q. What are the provisions of Nirmal Gram Puraskar (NGP)?


NGP stands for Nirmal Gram Puraskar. To add vigour to the TSC, in June 2003, GoI initiated an incentive scheme for fully sanitized and open defecation free Gram Panchayats, Blocks, and Districts called the Nirmal Gram Puraskar. The incentive pattern is based on population criteria and it varies from Rs.50,000 to Rs.50 lakh.

 

Q.Who can get the Nirmal Gram Puraskar?


The following can get the Nirmal Gram Puraskar

 

Gram Panchayats, Blocks and Districts, which achieve 100% sanitation coverage in terms of (a) 100% sanitation coverage of individual households, (b) 100% school sanitation coverage (c) free from open defecation and (d) clean environment maintenance.

 

Individuals and organizations, who have been the driving force for effecting full sanitation coverage in the respective geographical area.

 

Q.What is the difference between a septic tank and a sewage treatment plant?


A septic tank receives untreated wastewater from a property and allows the heavier solids to settle at the bottom whilst the effluent rises to the top. Self forming bacteria help the system digest the solids or sludge and the remaining liquids flow out of the tank into a drainage field. The effluent from a septic tank still contains about 70% of the polluted matter in the sewage, and further treatment is necessary. Alternatively, a sewage treatment plant gives aerobic digestion of the wastewater contaminants, and treats to a much higher standard than a septic tank. Treatment plant effluent has the appearance of clear water and can be discharged into a water course or ditch (with Environment Agency approval) or to a conventional soak away.


Q.What is menstruation?


Menstruation is a woman's monthly bleeding. When you menstruate, your body sheds the lining of the uterus (womb). Menstrual blood flows from the uterus through the small opening in the cervix and passes out of the body through the vagina. Most menstrual periods last from 3 to 5 days.


Q.What is the menstrual cycle?


When periods (menstruations) come regularly, this is called the menstrual cycle. Having regular menstrual cycles is a sign that important parts of your body are working normally. The menstrual cycle provides important body chemicals, called hormones, to keep you healthy. It also prepares your body for pregnancy each month. A cycle is counted from the first day of 1 period to the first day of the next period. The average menstrual cycle is 28 days long. Cycles can range anywhere from 21 to 35 days in adults and from 21 to 45 days in young teens.


Q.What happens during the menstrual cycle?


In the first half of the cycle, levels of estrogen (the “female hormone”) start to rise. Estrogen plays an important role in keeping you healthy, especially by helping you to build strong bones and to help keep them strong as you get older. Estrogen also makes the lining of the uterus (womb) grow and thicken. This lining of the womb is a place that will nourish the embryo if a pregnancy occurs. At the same time the lining of the womb is growing, an egg, or ovum, in one of the ovaries starts to mature. At about day 14 of an average 28-day cycle, the egg leaves the ovary. This is called ovulation.

 

After the egg has left the ovary, it travels through the fallopian tube to the uterus. Hormone levels rise and help prepare the uterine lining for pregnancy. A woman is most likely to get pregnant during the 3 days before or on the day of ovulation. Keep in mind, women with cycles that are shorter or longer than average may ovulate before or after day 14.

 

A woman becomes pregnant if the egg is fertilized by a man’s sperm cell and attaches to the uterine wall. If the egg is not fertilized, it will break apart. Then, hormone levels drop, and the thickened lining of the uterus is shed during the menstrual period.


Q.What is the place of children in hygiene promotion?

 


Children are both a major target group and major actors in hygiene promotion programmes. Young children still need to build their resistance to infectious diseases. When under the age of five they are the most vulnerable to poor water supply, sanitation and hygiene. Some 6,000 children die every day from diseases associated with lack of access to safe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene - equivalent to 20 jumbo jets crashing every day.

 

At the same time, children are major actors when it comes to better practices. Children who acquire good habits when young will often practice these throughout their lives and pass them on to their own children. They often also have a positive influence on parents. Schools and school sanitation programmes play an important role in spreading good practices.

 


Q.How feasible is it to change entrenched habits, like open defecation?


Numerous examples of successful change exist. More and more communities pride themselves in achieving the Open Defecation Free (ODF) status. Community-led Total Sanitation approaches that educate households, along with the availability of local and sustainable solutions and services, are a first step towards changing entrenched habits. Additionally, teaching school children facts about health risks and safe hygiene practices helps them develop essential life skills that they share with their families. These life skills also enable them to acquire and maintain healthy lifestyles, and to take greater responsibility for their own lives, as they become adults with families of their own.

 


Q.What is Faecal Sludge?


Faecal sludge (FS) comes from onsite sanitation technologies, and has not been transported through a sewer. It is raw or partially digested, a slurry or semisolid, and results from the collection, storage or treatment of combinations of excreta and blackwater, with or without greywater. Examples of onsite technologies include pit latrines, unsewered public ablution blocks, septic tanks, aqua privies, and dry toilets. FSM includes the storage, collection, transport, treatment and safe enduse or disposal of FS. FS is highly variable in consistency, quantity, and concentration.