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Swachh Bharat Abhiyan Gets UNICEF Approval, Body Says Mission Reduced Groundwater Contamination

Representative image. File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Representative image. File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The study launched by UNICEF found that in terms of faecal contamination, non-ODF villages were on average 11.25 times more likely to have their groundwater sources contaminated.

New Delhi: A UNICEF study released on Wednesday lauded the Narendra Modi-led government’s Swachh Bharat initiative, saying it had led to a reduction in groundwater contamination.

The study, commissioned by UNICEF and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, aimed at assessing the environmental impact and communication footprint of the Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen).

Union minister for Jal Shakti Gajendra Singh Shekhawat on Wednesday said the study, conducted in 2018, had estimated that the mission will save over three lakh lives by the time India is Open Defecation Free, ANI reported.

The study launched on World Environment Day found that in terms of faecal contamination, non-ODF villages were on average 11.25 times more likely to have their groundwater sources contaminated (12.7 times more from contaminants traceable to human alone), 1.13 times more likely to have their soil contaminated, 1.48 times more likely to have food contaminated and 2.68 times more likely to have household drinking water contaminated.

Shekhawat said cleanliness affects all aspects of the environment as well as the health and well-being of the communities in Open Defecation Free (ODF) regions.