Africa Water, Sanitation & Hygiene Africa Water, Sanitation Jan -Feb 2014 Vol.10 No1 - Page 11

NEWS in brief Global Highlights Padilla was reported missing on Saturday. “Plant operators spent hours draining the tank and underground pipes before they could find the body of the 48-year-old man,” WPTV reported. It remains unclear how Padilla fell, but a city spokesman said it appears to have been an accident, the Daily News reported. appointing around 2 dozen additional staff including two Joint Secretaries and 4 Directors to strengthen the implementation and monitoring of the Swachh Bharat Mission. An Expert Committee for innovative sanitation technologies and a national telephone helpline for rural water supply and sanitation are other new initiatives that will support the Mission. India launches national monitoring of toilet use Treat your sanitation workers well By Cor Dietvorst By Cor Dietvorst How does India’s new large-scale sanitation monitoring effort compare with similar initiatives in Bangladesh and Indonesia? There are two contrasting stories this week on the treatment of sanitation workers: in China a local restaurant treats 180 sanitation workers to a free lunch, while in Gaza sanitation workers who have received no pay for six months go on strike. More than 180 sanitation workers in Chengdu, Sichuan province enjoyed a free lunch courtesy of a local hotpot restaurant. Photo: weibo.com Image: Government of India (GoI) According to some media the Indian government has unleashed “toilet police” or “toilet gestapo” into the country. In fact, the central government has instructed local officials to take photographs of new toilets to prove that they have not only been constructed but are also being used. If states don’t upload photos by February 2015, the water and sanitation ministry has threatened to withhold funding from a new national sanitation programme. Open defecation free by 2019 Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Swachh Bharat (Clean India) Mission on 2 October 2014. His aim is to attain Photo: Swachh Bharat Mission a 100 per cent open defecation free India by 2019. Since the launch over half a million household toilets have been constructed. By implementing “real time monitoring” the government hopes it can correct past mistakes caused by ineffective monitoring and wasted investment in sanitation. The 2011 census revealed that 43% of government funded toilets were either “missing” or non-functional. Now the government wants to show that its investments in sanitation are delivering lasting results. Sanitation workers in China get low pay, have poor working conditions and work long hours. Mr. Li, a restaurant owner in Chengdu, decided it was time to show some appreciation for their hard work, especially now as temperatures were dropping. He offered over 180 local sanitation workers a free lunch; they were “encouraged to order whatever they wanted, including alcohol”, writes Dina Li in the Shanghaiist. The free lunch was also a compensation for the mess created when Mr Li opened his new restaurant. Employees promoted the place by distributing more than 100,000 leaflets that were, of course, thrown and scattered on the streets for sanitation worke