Envis Centre, Ministry of Environment & Forest, Govt. of India

Printed Date: Saturday, July 13, 2024

Community Hygiene

 

Some health measures can be undertaken only by the community as a whole. These include:

 

  •     Water source protection
  •     Proper disposal of solid waste and excreta
  •     Wastewater drainage
  •     Controlling animal rearing
  •     Market hygiene.


Individual members of the community members play an important role in community hygiene, and have a responsibility to their neighbours and to the community to promote good health and a clean environment. Everyone in the community must keep his/her house and compound clean, because one dirty house can affect many conscientious neighbours and contribute to the spread of disease. Community leaders can promote cleanliness in the home by regularly checking on village households and by using by-laws to encourage household maintenance:

Markets:

Markets often represent a health hazard because foodstuffs may not be stored properly and because the markets may lack basic services, such as water supply, sanitation, solid waste disposal and drainage. Ideally, markets should have several taps to provide traders and customers with ready access to safe water for drinking and washing. Many vegetable and fruit sellers regularly sprinkle their produce with water, and it is important that they have access to clean water for this. The sanitation facilities should also be appropriate for the number of people who will visit the market, with separate facilities for men and women. Water and sanitation facilities for a market are often relatively easy to support by charging a small user fee, or by using part of the market fee to pay for such services.

Foodstuffs sold at the market should also be clean and hygienic. This is particularly important for meat and fish, which should be thoroughly inspected before sale to ensure that they have been prepared hygienically and that they do not contain pathogens or other contaminants. Markets usually generate a lot of solid waste and it is important that it is disposed off properly, to prevent vermin such as rats and insects from feeding and breeding among it. The layout of market stalls should thus allow easy access for vehicles that collect waste and clean the area. Solid waste should be collected and disposed off daily. Strategically located waste bins (often concrete bunkers) can make this more effective. Market areas should also be properly drained to prevent flooding and insect breeding.

Animal rearing:

In many communities animal rearing is a means of generating food high in protein content and nutritional value, and for generating additional income. Animals can also provide many other products, such as leather and fuel that improve the quality of life. However, if it is not practiced safely, animal rearing can have negative effects on the health of the community.

 

  • Animals should always be kept away from households, particularly cooking areas and drinking-water sources, since their excreta contains pathogens that can contaminate food and water.
  • Animals should be kept in compounds at least 100 metres from water sources and 10 metres from houses.
  • Animal waste should be disposed of properly, away from homes and water sources, or be used as a fertilizer.
  • It is also best that animals are slaughtered away from households and water sources, since the offal and wastes may introduce contamination.
  • Some disease vectors prefer animal hosts to humans, for example dogs can be reservoirs of leishmaniasis, and some mosquitoes prefer to feed on cattle rather than humans. Placing animal shelters between mosquito breeding places and the village may therefore provide some protection against malaria transmission.