Swachh Bharat reduced ground water contamination: UNICEF Study

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New Delhi: The Swachh Bharat Mission launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has led to reduction in the groundwater contamination, a UNICEF study has claimed.

The studies, commissioned by UNICEF and the Bill and Melinda Gates, were aimed at assessing the environmental impact and communication footprint of the Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen).

Union Minister for Jal Shakti Gajendra Singh Shekhawat on Wednesday said the WHO 2018 study had estimated that the Swachh Bharat Mission will save over 3 lakh lives by the time India is Open Defecation Free.

Under the “Environmental impact of the Swachh Bharat Mission on Water, Soil, and Food” by UNICEF, groundwater samples were collected and studied from ODF and non-ODF villages of Odisha, Bihar and West Bengal.

The study found that, in terms of faecal contamination, non-ODF villages were, on average 11.25 times more likely to have their groundwater sources contaminated. Similarly,  1.13 times more likely to have their soil contaminated, 1.48 times more likely to have food contaminated and 2.68 times more likely to have household drinking water contaminated.

The study findings indicated that these substantial reductions may potentially be attributed to the improvement in sanitation and hygiene practices, as well as supportive systems such as regular monitoring and behaviour change messaging, which have all been critical aspects of the Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen).

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