Study on Household Containment Systems in Selected States in India
On-site sanitation systems have been the predominant alternative to the sewerage network in urban India, but inadequate regulatory oversight, complex technical standards, and limited technical awareness of masons and a resilience-building approach of households, have resulted in unfettered proliferation of ill-constructed systems which may pose a threat to the surrounding environment and communities. In adopting Fecal Sludge and Septage Management, since the promulgation of the national policy governing the matter in 2017, the dominant response of individual states has been to attempt enforcement of maintenance practices and construction of facilities for off-site treatment of septage (FSTPs), even as the safety and sustainability of the individual on-site sanitation systems – the first and most crucial link in the sanitation service chain, remain unassessed and unaddressed. Nationally representative surveys only broadly map the choices in sanitation technology at the household-level, and the data remains inadequate in assessing its prevailing status. The paucity in analysis acts not only a key impediment to effective planning and monitoring of outcomes at the local-level, but also leads to the reliance of policymakers on broad-based assumptions which may be flawed, while designing new interventions. Recognizing the criticality of better data in charting the course forward for the national sanitation agenda, the Scaling City Institutions of India: Sanitation (SCI-FI), with support from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, undertook a sample survey of 3000 households and detailed interviews, with both governmental and non-governmental actors, in ten India cities for building a nuanced understanding of the nature and quality of on-site sanitation systems. The present report presents the resulting findings and technical and policy recommendations for addressing the prevailing deviations.