ITANAGAR, Jan 8: At a time when the state is gung-ho over the ‘official declaration’ (issued on 31 December) that Arunachal Pradesh has achieved Open Defecation Free (ODF) status, disturbing pictures of toilet sheds in East Kameng HQ Seppa is speaking volumes about the situation.
Going by the number of temporary toilet sheds being erected by the residents in the township, it seems that Seppa is only partially open defecation-free, although East Kameng is one of the first districts to have been declared ODF.
It is reported that hundreds of toilet sheds have been erected over streams, and without septic tanks. The toilet sheds have been erected in such reckless manner that during the winter season, almost all rain-fed streams are blocked and polluted by human residuals.
The residents have to wait for the monsoon season to wash off the choked streams and channels. Defecation contaminates the streams, and creates unhealthy surroundings.
Reportedly, the worst affected areas in the township are Nyari Welly Model Village, New Seppa, Shantipur, and Boso Colony.
In 2016, the East Kameng Social Welfare Cultural Organization (EKSWCO) had launched a total sanitation campaign in the township area, ahead of the Kameng River Festival. The EKSWCO partially managed to convince the residents to discontinue open defecation.
Later, the Public Health Engineering department launched the Sanitation Campaign for Gramin (Rural) in collaboration with the EKSWCO, with the mission of eradicating open defecation from the district.
How far it has been successful is a moot point.
The district’s deputy commissioner and the PHED executive engineer there could not be contacted by this daily for their remarks on the issue.