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Cleanliness is Next to Godliness

My mission is to improve the sanitary conditions of Ulhasnagar, India, and raise awareness of the Ulhas River's current unclean state.

Photo of Sarah Hingorani
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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

The purpose of this project is to not only increase the sanitary conditions as they are in Ulhasnagar, but to also convince the citizens to reduce the pollution levels in the Ulhas River. In most of the city, a traveler will find that many of the residents are utilizing the dried banks of the Ulhas River as their public restroom, urinating and defecating out in the open. This is due to the fact that there is a lack of toilets throughout the city, and has also become part of each impoverished citizen’s lifestyle. Alongside this, there is also a lack of trash cans, resulting in several people to simply toss their trash wherever they please. When it comes to the Ulhas River, many people tend to use this precious source of water as another common garbage disposal, and is also a dumping ground for chemical waste for many companies. If the population of Ulhasnagar were to be provided with a better toilet system, which would include hand sanitizer and soap dispensers, and get a better understanding of what impact their activity in the Ulhas River has, the bridge created will bring better sanitary conditions for not just the impoverished citizens, but also the wealthier citizens and visitors of Ulhasnagar.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

The main beneficiary of this project will be Ulhasnagar’s impoverished population. The main cause as to why it is common to find human waste on the streets and see so much garbage scattered across town is because there are so many people that do not have access to a real toilet or garbage can to dispose of their trash. These citizens will benefit from my idea by finally gaining access to a proper sanitary system close to where they are located, and will in turn help to reduce the pollution of the Ulhas River, as well as decrease the frequency of contracting various diseases because of how unclean the area is currently. The rest of the population will also benefit from this idea because there will be a better sanitary system for their surrounding environment, and will be less susceptible to diseases.

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

I believe my idea is unique because I believe that there has been no current project that has created a sanitary system for an impoverished region. There have been projects that donated money to different organizations to improve other conditions of third world nations and such areas and create better education systems, but I do not believe that there has been a project that tackles the issue of sanitary conditions. The advantage my organization will have is that the whole population of my target region will benefit from what may come to them, as the amount of pollution and human waste that is seen in the area will decrease, and improving human and environmental health issues that are still prevalent. One way that another organization could address this need would be that the members start an online donation website in order to provide sanitary items to Ulhasnagar. While this may seem effective, my approach may have more success because of the potential for the plan to be long term.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Initial Design: I am exploring the idea, gathering the inspiration and information I need to test it with real users.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

As a whole, my organization discusses the various environmental issues that our common home is facing today, and provide an analysis about various activities that focus on a subject that we had recently learned about while in class.

Expertise in sector

  • 1-2 years

Organization Filing Status

  • Other

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

I have always been motivated to giving back to my communities, such as serving those who are less fortunate that I am and helping the planet one little step at a time. I believe that my calling in life is to help others, whether it be in my own country or in the country that my family comes from. I show an immense amount of passion for serving the poor, and I believe that this project will demonstrate how I am able to make this passion of mine into a real impact on the lives of other people.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

India’s prosperity as a whole lies in the corruptness of the entire government. There is a massive population growth occurring throughout India, causing people to demand more than what is provided. Because the demand is far higher than the supply provided and that there are very few laws that control this, the current economic status is mediocre, to say the least. While India’s economy may not be the best, my idea will at least be able to bring prosperity in terms of the success of having cleaner conditions that surround the citizens of Ulhasnagar. For the planet, the world state of the environment is rapidly declining mainly due to human activity. My idea will add to the cause of halting this fast declination of our environment by reducing the waste that can make its way into the city’s water sources. My idea bridges Prosperity and Planet by not only bringing success for the people of Ulhasnagar with better sanitary conditions, but also to the planet by reducing human waste in turn.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

Fortunately for me, my uncle was the former mayor of Ulhasnagar. While he may not be serving in office anymore, I have been informed by my mother that he is still in contact with various organizations of the city, and will be more than happy to assist in my project if it is selected to be continued. He will be able to contact the municipal government in order to allow the creation of the many toilet systems for the city, and be able to easily excite some crowds of Ulhasnagar to learn more about this project. In addition, a majority of my mother’s family lives in Ulhasnagar as well, and are also willing to be of assistance to make this idea into a success. The goal in mind would be to create pamphlets in both English and Marathi, and my many family members will be able to distribute the pamphlets throughout the city. In turn, this may spark the interest of many citizens on the new toilet systems and what they would be able to do to reduce the pollution of the Ulhas River.

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

In the city of Ulhasnagar, there are many young people who are willing to do anything to help their community. I am in hopes that these younger citizens will be more motivated by the project, and help raise awareness of the toilet systems and Ulhas River cleaning. Additionally, as many of the youth citizens are in school, the students will be able to encourage their classmates to be more aware of the issues at hand, and come together for the same cause of helping their city and the environment.

Geographic Focus

This idea will target the city of Ulhasnagar, India.

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

The total amount of months that will be required for this project to be completed, if chosen, will be between twenty-four (24) to thirty-six (36) months. The initial goals to accomplish first would be to be given approval from the municipal government to follow through with the plan, then hiring many workers to build the toilet systems, and create groups to increase awareness of the current condition of the Ulhas River.

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No


Join the conversation:

Photo of Deborah Hosemann

Hi Sarah, as other people already commented, I think your idea is a great and ambitious one. I totally agree that open defecation due to lack of sanitation facilities and waste disposal due to lack of awareness (as well as waste management) are main issues in rural, poor areas in India causing extreme environmental damage. The organisation I’m working for, United for Hope , has already worked on improving sanitation facilities in rural Eastern Uttar Pradesh and made its’ first village, Tirmasahun, ODF. We have worked a lot on raising awareness and educating local villagers about why hygiene is important. From our experience, getting villagers to use, especially older men, and to maintain the toilets properly can be fairly challenging. If you’d like to learn from our experience, feel free to contact us! :)

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