AIZAWL, July 26 - With all eight of the State�s districts having 100 per cent sanitation coverage, Mizoram today declared itself an open defecation-free State.
According to HC Lalnunzira, State Mission Director for Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin), the baseline survey 2012 showed that there were 30,067 families with unsanitary latrines/pit latrines. All these households have been provided with sanitary latrines, he said.
�Another 30,619 families which had unsanitary latrines and were not covered by the 2012 baseline survey have been provided with sanitary latrines during 2017-2018 under Swachh Bharat. Now, as per the 2012 baseline survey, we can self-declare ourself as an open defecation-free State,� the Mission Director said today.
Of the eight districts in Mizoram, spot verification has been done in seven districts. �Block and district verification is being conducted in Lunglei district, and we hope to get the State verification started in August,� he said, adding that an independent verification agency would conduct the Statewide verification.
�As we are expected to retain the ODF status, we will soon launch solid and liquid waste management programme in all the eight districts as per instructions from the Ministry of Drinking and Water Sanitation,� Lalnunzira said.
�The open defecation-free status of Mizoram was possible because of the hard work of its district officials who, in many cases, went from village to village to tell people about the importance of cleanliness. In villages where terrains proved to be difficult for the construction of conventional toilets, district officials helped locals use bamboo to construct strong and durable toilets,� he said.
Even in rural areas, people did not practise open defecation in Mizoram, but many families did not have sanitary latrines. When the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan began in 2014, rural Mizoram had a sanitation coverage of 74 per cent. Many districts in Mizoram, especially the ones in hilly terrains, remained devoid of proper sanitation facilities. Apart from the three districts of Aizawl, Champhai and Serchhip, sanitation coverage was low in the other five districts, in 2014.
District administrations took it upon themselves to improve the situation. Even in the initial years of the campaign, regular awareness camps were held in villages, workshops held on building of toilets and many district administration officials themselves addressed residents on the benefits of having toilets.
A total of 33,000 toilets were constructed across the State between 2014 and 2018. As per the National Annual Rural Sanitation Survey conducted between November 2017 and March 2018, Mizoram was among one of the best performing States in India. Not only all the districts of the State had 100 per cent toilet coverage, but all the households in rural areas used them regularly, compared to the national average of 68 per cent people with access to toilets actually using it in their households.