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Question mark over defecation-free Goa after Sattari water contamination

Story: UDAY | SAWANT | 15th February 2018, 01:40 Hrs

VALPOI  

 At a time when Goa plans to become open-defecation free by October 2 this year, poor sanitation practices have left two villages about 20 kms from each other in Sattari taluka in the grip of an outbreak within a period of four months.   

An estimated 30 people had taken ill at Shelpe-Nagargao in October and the outbreak had been attributed to contamination of local water bodies on account of open defecation.   

Despite the outbreak and subsequent health awareness programmes in Shelpe, people from other villagers of Sattari taluka did not pay heed to the dangers of poor sanitation habits.   

As a result, water contamination has also been cited as one of the main reasons for the outbreak in Charavane-Sattari, which had left about 45 persons ill in the last week.   

What, however, differentiates the two villages is that while Shelpe village lacked sufficient toilet facilities compelling people to resort to open defecation, nearly 90% of homes in Charavane village have toilets. However, the lack of soak pits has led people to release waste water into gutters, which, in turn, flows into water bodies and contaminates the water.   

After the Shelpe outbreak, Health Minister Vishwajeet Rane had set up awareness programmes regarding healthcare and sanitation practices in Sattari taluka. Health officials now believe that people in parts of Sattari taluka are yet to pay heed to better sanitation practices.  “It is unfortunate that despite a serious problem of water contamination at Shelpe village due to poor sanitation habits barely four months ago, lessons were not learnt by residents of Charavane village,” Valpoi Community Health Centre Incharge Dr Gajanan Naik told The Goan.   

“It should have been the duty of all people to understand the importance of proper sanitation, but people in Charavane village have not taken the matter seriously,” regretted Dr Naik.