TOWARDS CLEANER INDIA
PROVIDING CLEAN DRINKING WATER AND
SANITATION FOR ALL
CLEAN DRINKING WATER
In a nation of 1.25 billion, providing pure drinking water is indeed an alarming issue.
Although India has made improvements over the past decades to both the availability and quality of
municipal drinking water systems, there has been a major drop in water resources and rural areas are
Regardless of improvements to drinking water, many other water sources are contaminated with
both bio and chemical pollutants, and over 21% of the country's diseases are water-related.
One concern is that India may lack overall long-term availability of replenishable water resources.
As with all countries with large agricultural output, excess water consumption for food production
depletes the overall water table.
In addition, water scarcity in India is expected to worsen as the overall population is expected to
increase to 1.6 billion by year 2050.
Children in 100 million homes in the country lack water, and one out of every two children are
There is no easy answer for India which must tap into water sources for food and human sustenance
however India's overall water availability is running dry.
A GENERATION AFTER…..
Climate change is expected to exacerbate the problem by causing erratic and unpredictable weather,
which could drastically diminish the supply of water coming from rainfall and glaciers.
As demand for potable water starts to outstrip supply by increasing amounts in coming years, India will
face a slew of subsequent problems, such as food shortages, intrastate and international conflict.
Source: World Bank Report on Water in India
The traditional methods of water extractions have an ill-effect on the groundwater levels and there has
been a constant problem with implementation of the sanctioned plans despite the budget allocated.
India is a country surrounded with water on its three sides. The coastal India runs from Gujarat to West
Bengal covering an area of more than 7,000 kms. In such a state, desalination of water would be
helpful considering the amount of people who can benefit from the said project.
A 2nd desalination plant in Tamil Nadu may cost Rs: 1000 crore, but the city now goes on to receive 200
million litres a day (mld) from the two existing desalination plants at Minjur and Nemmeli.
According to the statistics of the Government of India, 88% of India on an average receives improved
water supply (96% urban; 84% rural) hence, not much of an extensive number is to be implemented.
Few desalination plants in the most drought prone areas in accordance with the state governments is
economically feasible given the budget set by the Government of India to be Rs: 15260 crore.
Another stark step to reach out to the said 12% that remains is probably through the model set by the
Tamil Nadu government can be easily implemented. With more than 21.9% of India’s population
under the BPL list, the Government of Tamil Nadu has already implemented the scheme of selling water
at Rs 10/- per litre as against the commercial water bottles that sell at a profit motive.
The Government of India can plan and implement similar measures that can sell the bottles at a
subsidized rate for at least the BPL category who have to travel to distant lands in Rajasthan and
Vidharba to cite a few places.
Whereas desalination plants can use the water for drinking as well as the excess for irrigation and
industrial purposes, the cheap bottles can be a saviour to rural and poverty stricken India to whom
drinking water is as important as their right to have food.
– FRESH WATER FROM THE SEA
What is Desalination?
Desalination is a technology that separates dissolved salts and other minerals from seawater or other salty
water to provide clean drinking water
Why are minerals added to the pure water?
After reverse osmosis filtration the water is so pure that minerals, salts and other elements need to be added
to bring the desalinated water closer in taste and properties to treated water from our dams and reservoirs.
The purified water also needs to be ‘hardened’ to prevent corrosion in the distribution system. Chlorine is
also added or disinfection
How does reverse osmosis work?
Reverse osmosis is the most popular type of desalination process in the world. Reverse osmosis involves
forcing sea water through layers of specially engineered membranes at high pressure (about 60 times
atmospheric pressure) to remove dissolved salt and other microscopic particles. The membrane is so thin
that a stack of five thousand of them would be only one millimetre thick. The process produces water that is
of a higher level of purity than water from dams and reservoirs.
1. Seawater is drawn from the ocean through a submerged inlet tunnel to the plant.
2. Pre-treatment involves micro-filtering particles from seawater, adjusting the pH, and adding an
inhibitor to control the build-up of scale in pipelines and tanks.
3. Reverse osmosis forces seawater through layers of synthetic membranes to remove salt and minerals.
Concentrated salt water is separated and returned to the ocean.
4. Post-treatment involves stabilizing the water with small amounts of lime and carbon dioxide, then
chlorine for disinfection.
STAGES OF THE DESALINATION PROCESS
SANITATION FOR RURAL WOMEN
Recent studies have shown only 10 percent of Indian women are using sanitary pads. Of this the number
in rural India is almost insignificant.
In the changing socio-economic scenario, women play an equal role in farms and a major role in the
Girls in rural areas skip school and eventually drop out because they are unable to handle this biological
condition because of the primitive methods they use to stem and contain the flow
They resort to unhygienic methods like using rags, clothes, paper, even sticks and stones. Awareness
regarding female hygiene is lacking in India due to it being a taboo subject.
Also the napkins that are sold in the Indian markets are far more expensive than the daily income of a
Such habits lead to diseases like cervical cancer, uterine infections etc.
Though the government has taken it upon themselves to distribute napkins at subsidies cost, most
women are not benefiting from this. The entire approach has to have a wider range of appeal and with
this we also need to provide ways to dispose off these pads in an eco friendly manner.
1. Manufacturing and distribution of pads at a local level managed by the village representatives
2. Installation of incinerators for eco-friendly disposing off the sanitary pads along with other hospital waste.
A) Manufacture of Sanitary napkins and their distribution:
Tamil Nadu based Jayshree Industries manufactures machines which produce sanitary napkins at low costs.
These machines come at a minimal cost of Rs: 65,000-70,000 and produces around 1000 pads a day.
These are sold at Rs.1 to Rs.1.50 which women can still afford. We propose that the government helps women
from villages to form Self-help groups and aid them through loans to procure these machines generating
employment and promoting rural sanitation. One machine gives employment to 4 workers.
• The pads made by this machine are very thick so that they can be used by rural woman while doing
intense manual labour.
• 100 machines have been sold so far to regions as far as in
even Haryana and Rajasthan villages. It will prove to be both
a work opportunity and a new lease at life for these daughters
of our soil.
Raw Material Unit Value
Wood Pulp 14.5 Kgs 798
Top Layer 220 Mts 340
Back Layer 350 Grams; 65
Release Paper 15 Sheets 30
Gum 1 Kg 110
180 Nos 135
B. Installation of Incinerator:
We propose to install at least one incinerator in each village in order to dispose off sanitary pads and
other hospital waste.
These incinerators can be procured at a low cost of Rs: 2.6 lakh and can be funded by the State and
It require 3 Watt power which burns 20 kg of waste in 1.5 hours.
This is an eco friendly solution as 99% combustion takes place instead of waste disposed off in rivers.
There is no gaseous emission as the by product is only sterile white ash.
This will ensure that sanitary pads that are distributed will be disposed off in a correct manner.
The collected waster matter is sorted according to the basic constructional material and level of toxicity.
Many times, the garbage is further shred. This makes it easier to introduce the garbage into the kiln. The
sorted and shred waste matter is dumped into the rotary kiln.
The amount of waste matter dumped into the kiln is calculated according to total volume considerations
and any expected expansion/contraction during the burning process. Rotary kilns are maintained at very
high temperatures. Thus, any kind of garbage is completely burnt, ensuring that minimal amount of
residue is created.
BENEFITS AND ADVANTAGES
The major benefit of desalination is that it can continue to deliver high quality drinking water for
consumption, even during periods of drought. It also provides an alternative source of water that will
make our overall supply more diverse and less vulnerable to interruption
One time investment for the amount of benefits it is to give for over the years
Huge amount of employment and an opportunity for the cheap labour India have.
Better water resource management, less chances of drought and hence better irrigational facilities
Less dependency on privatization of water plants for the poor
Increase in the health sector of rural India therefore ensuring a major step towards a healthy motherland
and eradication of water-prone diseases
Our aim here is to target the problem of menstrual sanitation in a multifold way such that the
recommendations have a positive impact on the society, the process of employment generation and the
While the Government of India has attempted to distribute napkins, they are yet to implement them on a
large-scale basis in an eco-friendly manner.
The recommendation will benefit the rural women population and lead to a more confident and
healthy life for them.
If the young girls are able to go to school again and not inhibited by this natural cycle that would prove
to be more than enough of an incentive for the Government to implement these suggestions.