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

Printed Date: Saturday, July 13, 2024

Community Hygiene

Community hygiene is of the life conditions in them and the influence of these conditions on the health and efficiency of the population. Several community development activities can be used to achieve this goal, including education and learning programmes, encouraging community management of environmental health facilities, and social mobilization and organization. Hygiene promotion is not simply a matter of providing information. It is more a dialogue with communities about hygiene and related health problems, to encourage improved hygiene practices.


In India, most people defecate outdoors, most along roadsides, in or next to communal water supplies and in common areas, due to lack of toilets. This is the cause of many health problems, and also of discomfort for many women, who often have to wait until it gets dark before looking for a safe place to urine or defecate.


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.


Proper disposal of solid waste and excreta:

Solid waste is defined as any waste that is dry in form and is discarded by people as unwanted. You can describe the solid waste from general housekeeping as residential waste, refuse, household waste or domestic waste. Waste produced in other areas is defined as industrial, commercial, institutional or agricultural waste, or street sweepings, depending on its source. In urban settings, municipal waste refers to the solid waste that is collected by local government (the municipality) and may include household, commercial, industrial waste and street sweepings. The solid waste that is produced as a result of food preparation, or any foodstuff leftover after eating, is called kitchen waste or garbage.

Solid Waste Management can be classified into five main stages these are:


  •     Onsite handling, storage and processing
  •     Collection
  •     Transfer and transport
  •     Resource recovery and processing
  •     Disposal.

Source of Solid Waste


  •     Street refuse
  •     Market refuse
  •     Stable litter
  •     Industrial refuse
  •     Domestic refuse.

Collection of Solid Waste


  •     House to House collection
  •     Mechanical transport
  •     Dustless refuse collector

Methods of Solid Waste Management

Insanitary Method:


  •     Hog Feeding
  •     Dumping

Sanitary Method:


  •     Sanitary landfill/ Controlled tipping
  •     Composting
  •     Incineration
  •     Manure pits
  •     Burial
  •     Biogas plant

The waste or by product that is obtained from human digestion is called human excreta. Since human waste is unhygienic, it is often transferred as sewage through sewerage systems. It is also considered as bio waste which is very useful to plant. Human excreta are the cause of many enteric diseases such as cholera, diarrhea, dysentery, typhoid, infectious hepatitis, hookworm etc.

Methods of Excreta Disposal

Insanitary Method:


  •     Open Defection
  •     Conservancy system /Cartage. Example : Bucket latrine

Sanitary Method:


  •     Pit latrine
  •     Pour flush / Water seal latrine
  •     Composting latrine
  •     Aqua privy
  •     Sulabh Shauchalya
  •     Chemical closet
  •     Biogas plant
  •     Latrines suitable for camps and temporary use


Wastewater drainage


Wastewater is any water that is discharged by domestic residences, commercial properties and industry that encompasses contaminants and concentrations.


Drainage is used in the English language to refer to the emptying of something by allowing liquid to run out of it. This word is also defined in some quarters as the practice of removing contents from something. Drainage is the natural or artificial removal of surface and sub-surface water from an area. Many agricultural soils need drainage to improve production or to manage water supplies.


Waste water drainage: “Waste Water” is used water (e.g. water used for washing, bathing, cleansing, flushing etc. in households, business premises etc.) which is discharged in the directly to the drain and the septic tank used exclusively to cope with sewage from the water closets.


Under waste disposal these items are needed to be considered:


  1. Rain water from streets, roofs of buildings, and other more or less impervious areas;
  2. Waste water: including industrial waste from factories, laundries, breweries;
  3. Water closet system.


Rain water disposal: Pipes discharge into open gutters. Rainwater from streets and other impervious surfaces enters storm-water outlets which discharge into the sea or, sewers by gullies.


Water closet system: Apparatus for treatment of excreta, which is connected to sewer by pipe, and, in which water is used to carry away the excrement. Soil Pipe for conveying excreta from water closet to house drain.


House drain: Underground pipe connecting soil pipe and sewer. Receives discharges from soil pipe, rainwater and waste water from baths and sinks


Sewer: a sewer is an underground pipe for conveyance of rainwater and sewage. It conveys household effluents and trade effluents.


Septic tank: A septic tank is a water-tight receptacle used to break down sewage by conservancy, so that the sewage becomes septic and decomposition occurs through the action of anaerobic bacteria organisms, which naturally grow in the sewage under suitable conditions. The septic tank is provided for the purpose of separating the liquid from the solids so that the effluent or liquid portion, which flows from the tank, is rendered comparatively innocuous.


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.