To make 80 Villages 'Open Defecation Free’
Hindustan Zinc, a Sesa Sterlite company in zinc-lead-silver business, recently launched a social awareness campaign 'MARYADAA' ( ), to give impetus to its project of construction of toilets and spread mass awareness in public at large, with special focus on school children about good sanitation and hygiene habits.

On the initiative of Rajasthan Government, Hindustan Zinc has signed an MoU to build 30,000 toilets for rural families under 'Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan'. The company has already started the construction of these toilets in Bhilwara, Chittorgarh and Udaipur districts and so far the construction of 9,000 toilets have been completed. The balance construction is expected to be completed within 2 years.

This initiative will make 80 rural and tribal villages in Rajasthan 'Open Defecation Free’.

The company is constructing 2 ‘Leach Pits’ below each toilet to facilitate disposal of waste. Only one ‘Leach Pit’ will be used at a time. Each ‘Leach Pit’ is estimated to be full in about 5 years. As the first ‘Leach Pit’ is full, the second ‘Leach Pit’ will be opened. Within 5 years, the waste in the first ‘Leach Pit’ will be converted into manure to be utilized by the farmer for agriculture purpose.

These newly constructed toilets will also minimize the risk of contamination of drinking water sources thus reducing the health related problems in rural India. Under the `Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan’, cost of construction of each toilet is Rs. 8,500/- where Rs. 4600 per toilet is being paid by government, Rs. 3000 by Hindustan Zinc and Rs. 900 by the beneficiary.

Lack of Toilet facilities in rural areas for females has always been a matter of concern, especially during the late hours or during pregnancy. Toilet in each house-hold provides comfort, convenience with a sense of security and dignity to each member of the house. The Hindustan Zinc campaign 'MARYADAA' is also expected to improve good hygiene practices and create awareness towards health & sanitation.

The ultimate objective is to eliminate open defecation practices in the villages and make Rajasthan an ‘Open Defecation Free State’.

According to UNICEF report, today only 48% of rural Indian population has access to good toilet and sanitation facilities. When more than 50% of Indian population defecates in open it leads to improper disposal of the waste, sanitation issues and cause of many harmful diseases. With Rajasthan in particular, 60% of population defecates in open. A World Health Organization (WHO) report has also highlighted that half a billion (50 crore) people in India still continue to defecate in gutters, behind bushes or in open water bodies, with no dignity or privacy.

The most credible reason for large number of population in India still defecating in open is due to lack of awareness about the problems associated with open defecation.  Poor sanitation, hygiene and open defecation is responsible for 50% of the cases of maternal and childhood under-nutrition.  There is a synergy between diarrhea diseases and under-nutrition where exposure to one increases vulnerability to the other.

In Bangladesh and Brazil only 7% population defecate in open. In China only 4% of the population defecates in open.

Government, Corporates, NGOs and common people have to come together to address this mammoth issue which has become a matter of dignity and concern for the rural families and the nation.

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