Kerala became third Open Defecation Free state in the country after Sikkim and Himachal Pradesh under the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) (Gramin)..
The announcement in this regard was made by the Drinking Water and Sanitation Secretary Parameswaran Iyer in New Delhi on the occasion foundation day of Kerala (1 November).
With this Kerala becomes first high density populated state in the country to achieve Open Defecation Free status. All 14 districts, 152 blocks, 940 Gram Panchayats and 2117 villages of the State have been declared free from open defecation.
Freedom from open defecation has been proven to lead to significant health benefits in terms of incidences of water-borne diseases, especially in children, and provide safety and dignity for all, especially women and senior citizens.
About Swachh Bharat Mission
- The Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) was launched in October 2014 to accelerate the efforts to achieve universal sanitation coverage and to put focus on sanitation.
- The mission aims to achieve Swachh Bharat or make India clean by 2019, as a fitting tribute to the 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
- The SBM consists of two sub-missions Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin), implemented in rural areas, and Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban), implemented in urban areas.
- SBM-G seeks to eliminate open defecation in rural areas by 2019 through improving access to sanitation by ensuring the use of toilets, besides their construction.
- It also seeks to generate awareness to motivate communities to adopt sustainable sanitation practices, and encourage the use of appropriate technologies for sanitation.