WaterAid India is part of the global WaterAid network which seeks to improve access to clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene for everyone, everywhere. While clean water, decent toilets, and good hygiene should be a normal part of daily life for everyone, everywhere, for many people in urban areas and small towns, they are not.
Without these basics, the people suffer ill-health, miss out on an education and lack opportunities to support themselves and their families. Getting clean water and decent toilets to informal settlements in cities is often complex, and no easier in smaller towns. People often have to rely on informal water vendors, who charge much more than formal service providers.
As part of the Saamuhika Shakti initiative, WaterAid India will focus on improving access to safe drinking water and sanitation for waste picker communities through awareness creation, catering to immediate needs, creating evidence of exclusion and liaising with the government.
WAI undertook a baseline study to assess the current state of landscape in the context of WASH (Water, Sanitation and hygiene) in 13 selected slums of Bengaluru.
The waste pickers’ household was selected through a snowballing method, household members involved in informal waste picking activities were identified in discussion with local community members.
The objective of the study was to establish a baseline for the key change indicators –
● WASH facilities at household and community level
● WASH related behaviour and practices of the community
● Challenges faced by waste picker community in accessing wash facility at home and at workplace
● Majority households in non-notified slums live in kutcha houses, with no access to household toilets, and in some cases community toilets as well.
● Two third of all houses in notified slums were pucca houses, the housing facility being provided by the Karnataka Slum Development Board
● The average number of years the people reside in notified slums is 26.5 years, and those in non-notified slums is 9.6 years
● All notified slums have Anganwadi Centres (AWCs) with access to drinking water and sanitation.
● Almost all the households from non-notified slums (80%) denied possessing any ration card while maximum households from notified slums (78.7%) confirmed having BPL cards are no AWCs in non-notified slums
● Borewells available in05 notified slums
● Standpipes were also available across all notified slums and were found to be functional
● 2 notified and 2non-notified slums have access to community sanitary complexes / community toilets
● There are a higher number of Itinerant Buyers (43%) compared to sorters
● A noticeable difference was found in the mean calculated for average monthly income for male(INR 9920) and female (INR 6639) waste pickers
● Majority of the respondents (77%), across all slums, responded that other household members were not involved in waste picking
● Among those who confirmed involvement of their household members in waste picking activities around 37% stated that their children were involved in waste picking and around26% confirmed involvement of their siblings in waste picking activities
● Slum-wise analysis of primary source of drinking water reveals that with the exception of Sumanahalli all other slums mainly depended on a single source of drinking water
● The availability of own water connection was reported by majority of the households living in Cement colony, and Kuntigrama slums
● Tanker as a primary source of drinking water was primarily reported by respondents from Chiranjeevi Nagar slum
● Despite availability of drinking water in notified slums, community reported challenges due to the erratic timings (late evening, night on alternate days) when municipal water supply is available
● In most cases, drinking water was sourced either from public taps situated 250 to 500 metres away, or from Drinking Water Kiosks / RO plants
Around two thirds of households across both notified and non-notified slums reported that there were lean periods for water supply, when they found it difficult to get adequate drinking water. Overall, the average monthly expenditure on water reported by notified slum households was INR 225.7, and by non-notified slum households was INR257.1
The survey also revealed that the female respondents exhibited better hand hygiene awareness and practice frequency than their male counterparts, at all critical times. Given the gendered division of domestic chores and childcare activities, the percentage of female respondents washing their hands after disposal of child faeces (51.2%) was double that of male respondents (28%).
● A majority of the households (69.3%) reported the presence of a designated place to wash hands. The number of households with designated places to wash hands were higher in notified slums (74.8%) when compared to non-notified slums (61.7%).
● The percentage of households with availability of water and soap was almost double in notified slum areas (60%) when compared to non-notified slums (33.9%).
● The survey results point towards widespread presence of proper drainage infrastructure in notified slums, with 98% of households connected to drains. On the other hand, less than20% of households in non-notified slums reported being connected to proper drains that ensure safe disposal of wastewater.
● Only 22% of all households reporting regular collection of waste by the municipality
● 46% of the households surveyed throw solid waste outside the perimeter of their homes with no dumping site, while 30% have access to a nearby dumping site
● Close to 55% of female respondents reported using community toilets
● Close to one third of informal waste pickers (27.5%) do not have access to toilet facilities at workplace due to the nature of their work
● About 56% of the respondents reported in affirmative when enquired about handwashing compliance at work. The proportion was around 70% in case of notified slums and almost half (38%) in case of non-notified slums. A barrier on this front is limited access to handwashing facilities and supplies, particularly in public spaces, outside public or community toilets, etc.
● A majority of respondents (83.3%) reported asking nearby households or shopkeepers at their collection sites for drinking water
● 60.3% of the female respondents in the age group of 18 to 49 reported that they carry out their work even while menstruating
● Over 60% of the respondents reported that they do not change menstrual absorbents while at work