As most states in India begin to ease their COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, there are early signs of resumption of economic activity. Public transport services have now resumed, as have many public services. This belies the fact that risks of the pandemic are still pertinent. The return to normalcy has put stresses on our public sanitation and hygiene practices to contain any further outbreaks, even though economic realities mean curbing public movement and business is no longer an option.
At the same time, the importance of public health and hygiene must also take into account the precarious state of our clean water resources. This means that our attempts to keep our populace safe, as the country begins to unlock, must find ways to engender better public health and hygiene, while conserving our clean water resources.
Creating Easily Accessible Sanitisation Stations
With commuters crowding into public transport and workers returning to offices, it’s impractical to constantly clean the spaces they will occupy, mostly because of the huge wastage of water that will involve. A more consistent approach to ensuring everyone’s safety would be to create dedicated sanitization stations and encouraging people to make sure they sanitize their bodies and belongings as often as possible.
Wash Basins With Recycled Water Supply
Over time, and through a number of volunteer initiatives, India developed a decent network of public toilets and sanitation hubs. These must be upgraded further and made more accessible to the public, with greater numbers of free-to-use wash basins with clean recycled water. Such provisions will help make washing of hands a public habit, without resulting in clean water wastage.
Using Disposable Seat Covers
One of the biggest health risks stems from contact with contaminated surfaces in public spaces. This threat is even more magnified in the case of shared public seating, which effectively transfer pathogens from one occupant to the next. Constantly wiping down such surfaces would be too tedious to be viable, besides wasting a lot of water. Therefore, for the sake of public’s safety, we need disposable seat covers for public benches and for seating in public transport and in offices.
These are some of the most basic and essential steps that could help alleviate the risk to public health and hygiene, as the country returns to work in the aftermath of the pandemic. Besides ensuring a good base of sanitary practices, these steps would also ensure we don’t waste our scarce resources of clean water in the process.
To give a platform to our national efforts to promote health and hygiene and conserve clean water sources, News 18 and Harpic India have joined hands to create #MissionPaani. You can also be a part of this transformative movement. Just log onto https://www.news18.com/mission-paani/