Pujya Swamiji speaks about Sanitation Best Practices in Simhastha
HH Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, President, Parmarth Niketan (Rishikesh), Chairman, India Heritage Research Foundation (IHRF), and Co-Founder, Global Interfaith WASH Alliance (GIWA), addressed a press conference today at the Kumbh Mela in Ujjain highlighting the importance of behaviour change in driving sanitation best practices. He emphasized that all citizens need to take responsibility for eliminating open defecation in our country and ensure the safe treatment and disposal of human waste in our environment.
Addressing the topic of swachhta (cleaniness) at his camp dedicated entirely to these efforts, Pujya Swamiji urged everyone to protect our precious planet and keep our surroundings clean by always using toilets for defecation and ensuring that untreated human waste is not discharged into our rivers, soil and our environment. He emphasised the importance of safe sanitation practices by saying, “We are all citizens of this planet first and it is our duty to protect and preserve our Earth. A single act of open defecation can lead to multiple problems of environmental pollution and has a devastating effect on the health of children and adults, causing illness and death. It is important that we all join this national mission to increase our sanitation coverage and make the practice of open defecation and open discharge a social taboo.”
Pujya Swamiji also spoke vehemently against the evil practices of treating some of our fellow citizens as pariahs and as beneath our respect because of their profession as sanitation workers. He emphasised that old myths around impurity and untouchability are not relevant in these times, and that all religions preach equality of all human beings – there is no sanction for relegating any member of society as impure or untouchable by virtue of their profession. In fact, he opined that those who clean our waste should be given the highest respect, since they are performing the most stellar service for the nation in making it Swachh and keeping away deadly diseases like the plague and epidemics that would overwhelm people if they did not do their jobs as diligently as they do.
Further elaborating on initiatives to protect and preserve the Ganga and our planet, Pujya Swamiji urged all pilgrims and devotees to provide support and support the government by acting responsibly and spreading awareness about sanitation best practices, which in turn would help contribute towards the government’s national sanitation mission, the Swachh Bharat Mission. He said, “The government has already allocated money and support for each household that does not have a toilet. I urge you to please go to your gram panchayat/ panchayat leader/ municipal corporation and obtain all the information you require on this subject. It is critical for you to ensure that every family member, whether a man, woman or child, uses a toilet at all times. Only then will we be able to keep our environment safe, our rivers clean and our families healthy – this is the yogic way of living.”
On the occasion there was also the inauguration of a toilet exhibition at Pujya Swamiji’s camp, displaying three toilet models, i.e. the dual composting toilet, the bio-digester toilet and the septic tank toilet. The exhibitions are prominently built at main entrance of his camp and just alongside the beautiful Char Dham’s replica to illustrate one of the key ways to clean and green our sacred pilgrimage sites was to build and use a toilet.
Present with him at the Press Conference were:
- Shri Indreshji, Senior RSS Leader
- Pujya Swami Harichetanandji
- Pujya Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatiji, Secretary-General Global Interfaith WASH Alliance (GIWA)
- Pujya Swamini Adityananda Saraswatiji, Director of Programmes, Policy and Partnerships, GIWA
HH Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji will be present during the 30-day Kumbh Mela in Ujjain, where he will be organising sermons to spread awareness about sanitation best practices among his followers, particularly on the importance of eliminating open defecation and ensuring that waste is treated and safely disposed. He is also leading the efforts to inspire and motivate other spiritual and interfaith leaders to organize these sermons in other camps as well.