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Sanitation - Important Concepts for NEET

Last updated date: 15th Apr 2024
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An Introduction to Sanitation

Two important aspects that have an impact on our health are sanitation and hygiene. We are aware that good health is a condition of well-being and is necessary for leading a meaningful life. A full lack of worry, social tension, and psychological distress is a sign of good health in addition to being free from illness and diseases. Our health is impacted and we run the risk of becoming ill if there is any deviation from the harmonious functioning of our body.

People in many nations are at risk for illnesses connected to water, sanitation, and hygiene since it is difficult to provide basic sanitation facilities for their entire population. Investments in sanitation save health care expenses and increase productivity as a result of more time being available for work and school.

What is Sanitation?

Sanitation is described as the hygienic process of promoting health by preventing human exposure to waste's health risks and properly treating and discarding sewage and wastewater. The main causes of a wide range of ailments in our nation are sanitation and tainted drinking water problems. Sanitary systems work to safeguard human health by maintaining a hygienic setting that reduces the risk of disease transmission, especially via the faecal-oral pathway. For instance, good hygiene helps reduce diarrhoea, which is a major contributor to childhood malnutrition and stunted growth.

Importance of Sanitation

  • Everyone should practise good hygiene since it prolongs life and helps maintain health. Children, however, should pay particular attention to it. Sanitation facilitates a healthier workplace.

  • Infestation by pests is avoided via sanitation.

  • Shelf life can be extended with sanitation.

  • Existing microorganisms are eliminated by sanitation.

  • Injury risk is reduced by sanitation.

Types of Sanitation

  • The use of better sanitation facilities that are not shared with other homes constitutes basic sanitation.

  • In a sanitary system known as "container-based sanitation," toilets collect human waste in detachable, lockable containers that are then taken to treatment facilities.

  • A technique to enhance sanitary and hygienic habits in a community is known as community-led complete sanitation.

  • A method that transports waste via a dry, drainless toilet is known as dry disinfection.

  • Excreta should be safely reused in agriculture as part of an ecological sanitation strategy.

  • The technical and organisational procedures needed to provide sanitary facilities in an emergency are known as emergency sanitation.

  • Controlling environmental elements linked to disease transmission is known as environmental sanitation.

Alternatives to Improve Water Sanitation

For individuals without sewage infrastructure, it is advised to install affordable on-site wastewater treatment systems to enhance sanitation and reduce the risk of waterborne illnesses. Human waste on-site sewage disposal systems include the following:

Septic Tanks

  • An underground concrete tank that is huge and covered and includes an entrance pipe at one end and an outlet pipe at the other makes up a typical septic tank.

  • The septic tank's inflow pipe is joined to the toilet seat. Through the inflow pipe, the toilet seat is connected to the septic tank.

  • Septic tanks are appropriate for locations without a sewage system. In villages, animal manure is used to create biogas.

  • A biogas plant can also create biogas from human waste.

Composting Pits 

  • Composting toilets are provided using compost pits.

  • The components of a composting toilet are a toilet seat fastened to a composting chamber coupled with a drying chamber.

  • With the aid of aerobic microorganisms, the composting chamber breaks down human waste and turns it into compost.

  • The compost solidifies and loses moisture in the drying chamber. It is regularly removed and used as compost.

  • Where there is little or no water supply, compost toilets are used. These toilets have the added benefit of giving us compost (or manure), which aids in providing plants with essential nutrients.

Chemical Toilets

  • Directly beneath the toilet seat, a chemical toilet employs a container that has been chemically treated. Chemicals help to partially disinfect and lessen the smell of human faeces.

  • After a given amount of time, the storage capacity of chemical toilets for human waste lines is limited. Chemical restrooms only exist in transportable restrooms.

  • Chemical restrooms are used on building sites and at sizable outdoor events like weddings and music festivals since they are portable.

Difference Between Sanitation and Hygiene

In essence, both terms refer to preventing disease and promoting good health. The human body and hygiene are frequently linked. By brushing our teeth, taking regular baths, and other such actions, we utilise the word "hygiene" for our physical well-being. Handwashing is the universal precaution in preventing the spread of microbes, which is included in the category of hygiene.

Contrarily, "sanitation" refers to the disposal of garbage, including environmental and human waste. There are many different kinds of sanitation, including basic sanitation, which involves managing human waste like faeces; on-site sanitation, which refers to how people handle and dispose of other types of waste; food sanitation, which involves handling food properly; environmental sanitation, which includes industrial sanitation, and ecological sanitation, which aims to mimic how nature functions by recycling waste from people and animals into more useful forms of material.


Sanitation and hygiene are the most important aspects of life and should be maintained extensively. The article gives an insight into important concepts of sanitation and its types. Sanitation and hygiene, though they go hand in hand, are different concepts. Over 880 million people still do not have basic access to clean water, according to a 2017 report by UNICEF and the WHO. Basic access to safely managed drinking water is defined as having at least one source on the property that is readily available when needed and contaminant-free. For proper sanitation, various alternatives like septic tanks, compost pits, and chemical toilets can be constructed.

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FAQs on Sanitation - Important Concepts for NEET

1. How can diseases be prevented?

People shouldn't excrete in open spaces to prevent waterborne illnesses (or near bodies of water). Everyone should be conscious of their duty to avoid contaminating the "water source" to keep it pure. Water consumption is a fundamental human necessity. Sadly, not everyone has access to clean water. Over a billion people are thought to lack access to clean drinking water globally. Many water-related ailments and even deaths occur worldwide as a result of human-caused water contamination. This ailment can be prevented through proper sanitation made by the efforts of everybody. 

2. What are the causes of sanitation problems?

A lack of literacy and inadequate knowledge of the importance of appropriate hygiene and sanitation among the general population are both indicators of poor sanitation. If this behaviour continues, it has the potential to damage the ecosystem and contribute to the spread of diseases such as cholera, typhoid, and various other diseases and ailments. A lack of sanitation can be attributed to the following factors:

  • Urbanisation

  • Poverty

  • Insufficient availability of water

  • Inadequate preparation in advance

  • Poor governance for the citizens as well as sanitation

3. What are the different types of hygiene?

To maintain overall health, hygiene can be defined as the practice of a few practices. Hygiene upkeep can be done on a personal or communal basis (social hygiene and personal hygiene).

  • Personal hygiene includes keeping oneself clean, exercising, sleeping, getting enough rest, and other related behaviours like abstaining from using drugs, smoking, and alcohol, among others. By practising good personal cleanliness, many diseases can be significantly avoided.

  • Social hygiene: Our society is defined by our surroundings and other public spaces. A healthy environment has a significant impact on a person's mental and physical health. An unhealthy environment is caused by improper, messy, and untidy surroundings as well as improper trash disposal in public spaces. Such behaviours make us sick and result in an alarming increase in rodents, infections, and other microorganisms. As a result, personal hygiene as well as societal hygiene are important factors.