In 2014, the Government of India launched the ambitious Swachh Bharat (Clean India) Mission to improve urban quality of life by eliminating open defecation and increasing sanitation coverage in its more than 4,000 cities by October 2, 2019 — the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth. During my visit there earlier this year, I saw significant progress being made toward this goal and was proud of the technical assistance the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is providing to strengthen national sanitation and support this effort.
Please note that this implementation brief applies to the 2013 USAID Water and Development Strategy, which has been replaced by the 2017 U.S. Government Global Water Strategy and USAID Water and Development Plan. Click here for more information.
Despite Lebanon’s relatively abundant natural water resources, population growth, rapid urban expansion, water and weather related events and an influx of Syrian refugees have collectively caused a significant water deficit in Lebanon. Only 48 percent of the population has access to safely managed water, while 20 percent has access to safely managed sanitation. Unsustainable water use practices, poor management of wastewater, and water treatment problems collectively reduce the availability of drinking water.
"Wastewater should be managed well for a better quality of life,” said Vice Mayor Syamsul Rizal in August 2015, as his city, Makassar, the capital of South Sulawesi, became the first in Indonesia’s history to implement a regular septic tank cleaning service. Our city “should be at the forefront of good sanitation,” he asserted. “It is meaningless to have a nice house when the environment around us is smelly.”
At USAID we recognize the threat poor sanitation combined with rapid urbanization presents to human health, dignity, and prosperity. This is why we have made urban sanitation a global priority for the Agency. During a recent visit to India, I was able to see some of the work being done to bring sanitation services to urban areas, and had the good fortune to meet some inspiring women who are advancing these efforts in their communities.