For more information:

Dirk Walther, Project Director
+91 11 4949 5353

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Supporting Indian states and cities take effective measures to reduce pollution by managing solid waste and wastewater.

According to census data, India’s population increased by 400% between 1911 and 2011, reaching 1.2 billion. In 1911, 10% of Indians lived in urban areas; in 2011, the figure was 31%. UN projections estimate that by 2031, 600 million Indians, 39% of the total, will live in towns and cities.

Municipalities, charged with delivering basic public services to residents, are aiming at a moving target. Critical infrastructure, whether roads, schools, toilets or energy networks, cannot keep pace with the rapid, often unplanned expansion of towns and cities. Sanitation is one of their biggest challenges: providing access to fresh water and collecting and treating wastewater. Only one in ten towns have a sewerage network. Most wastewater flows untreated into surface and groundwater, polluting precious reserves and spreading disease. Solid waste also pollutes water supplies.

In 2008, India’s Ministry for Urban Development launched the National Urban Sanitation Policy (NUSP), a comprehensive policy framework for

improving municipal sanitation systems. In 2014 the Government launched the high-profile Swachh Bharat (Clean India) Mission, followed by the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) and ‘Smart Cities’.

State and city governments share the commitment to improving urban infrastructure, but lack of experience, expertise and manpower hinders them from turning a shared aim into tangible results. Support to National Urban Sanitation Policy II (SNUSP II) follows on from its predecessor SNUSP I and works with the states of Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra, Telangana and Uttarakhand to improve the sanitation situation of the states and cities.

SNUSP II offers the Ministry of Urban Development a range of technical solutions that proved effective in the first phase of the project, including gender-sensitive public toilets and systems to manage faecal sludge, solid waste and wastewater. The learnings from SNUSP I have been taken forward and scaled up in the second phase.  

The project provides technical support to mid-sized municipalities so they can develop solid waste and wastewater management strategies,

standards and guidelines, and implement appropriate evidence-based solutions for improved sanitation. SNUSP II is also working with city and state authorities to introduce participatory processes in planning and implementing municipal sanitation and solid waste strategies. When residents can have their say on decisions affecting them, they ‘own’ rules that they helped define and infrastructure they agreed was needed. This greatly improves compliance and respect for public property in the long term.

Ultimately, project support to citywide sanitation and waste management plans is expected to improve sanitation in Indian cities and reduce environmental and water pollution, contributing to the Indian government’s vision of a ‘Swachh Bharat’.