Innovation alone can’t change things for the better. You need a meticulous framework of laws in order to obtain favourable results.
The plight of sanitation labourers, who clean septic tanks and sewers, keeps getting worse. Work undertaken by them exposes them to many diseases and infections. Furthermore, they are discriminated because of the work they do. They are looked down upon and are treated as ‘untouchables’.
The Self Employment Scheme for Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers (SRMS), 2007 seeks to uplift these people. A loan of INR 1 million (10,00000) is available to those undertaking manual scavenging. Also, a loan of INR 15 lacs is available to those undertaking sanitation work ( the likes of vacuum loaders, people driving garbage disposal vehicles, etc.)
Through this model of upliftment, a manual scavenger, who is usually looked down upon, can once again ‘afford’ to dream. He can look for better employment opportunities.
Another valid example of the same is the Delhi Jal Board’s (DJB) ongoing initiative to present 200 new sewer cleaning machines to skilled manual scavengers. Now, manual scavengers don’t need to enter into the septic tanks to clean them. These machines have been commissioned to clean some of the capital’s filthiest areas.
It is time we put an end to the practice of physical manual scavenging. We live in an age of technological advancements. Putting innovative technologies to work is the need of the hour. Using machines to clean sewers can go a long way in ensuring that people in our country aren’t made to enter filthy manholes ever again.