Flush the Virus: Mumbai-based NGO's unique drive to keep Covid at bay

Mumbai: At a time when the civic body closed the community toilets in the city in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak, a group of Mumbaikars have come forward to carry out sanitation drives in the city’s community toilets.

During the months of May and June, when the pandemic was at its peak, members of Triratna Prerana Mandal (TPM), a city-based voluntary organisation, started a campaign "Flush the Virus" which aimed at carrying out cleaning works in the community toilets of the city.

"Most of the people who live in slum areas of the city entirely depend on community toilets. In areas like Dharavi, more than 25,000 people use the slum pockets daily" Dayanand Jadhav, executive president TPM told FPJ.

The focus area of the NGO is sanitisation, waste management and hygiene. Jadhav said the sudden closure of the community toilets caused sheer inconvenience to the local people who live in these slum areas. Hence he decided to conduct awareness drives on keeping the toilets hygienic amongst people, who use them.

"We focused primarily on the areas like Dharavi, Cheeta Camp, Shivaji Nagar and Vakola. These areas have a large number of slum population and we divided our members into teams and deployed them in these areas" said Jadhav.

He said the voluntary organisation along with UNICEF and CACR held virtual training sessions with toilet cleaners and sanitisation workers besides taught them means to keep the public toilets clean.

Since the pandemic broke out, Jadhav and his men installed modern ‘hand wash’ centres in as many as 187 community toilets across the city. These modern basins are designed in a unique way, in order to get water from the tap one needs to press the lever using his feet.

Seven months after the pandemic outbreak in India, Jadhav said that Mumbaikars became more aware and hygienic than they were in the pre-CODID-19 time.

"Outside community toilets, we don't need to mark pitches anymore as people understand the importance of maintaining distance very well. People using community toilets have become more aware now as they understand the importance of hygiene and cleanliness" said Jadhav.

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