As many as 1,789 cities have been declared open defecation free (ODF) till now, said Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister for Housing and Urban Development (Independent charge), at an event here Puri on Thursday.

“The Swachh Bharat Mission, which aims to make India a clean and open defecation free nation by October 2019, needs to become a jan aandolan , with participation from every stakeholder. We have taken up a multi-pronged strategy for making the mission a people’s movement,” he said at a conference on the PPP model for waste-to-energy projects.

Puri further said the Ministry is implementing the Swachh Bharat Mission in urban areas with two key objectives — elimination of open defecation and 100 per cent scientific management of municipal solid waste (MSW). These objectives are to be achieved by October 2, 2019, which would be a befitting tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birth anniversary, he added.

With India generating nearly 62 million tonnes per annum of MSW, Puri said, it becomes critical to manage the waste optimally and realise its potential.

“This is resonating in the Ministry’s emphasis on Waste to Wealth and compliance with Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016. Swachh Bharat Mission is not, however, free from challenges. A large number of people still go for open defecation for want of toilets, a large amount of MSW is still unprocessed, 100 per cent segregation of MSW at source is not achieved. As of today, 23 per cent waste generated is being processed,” he said.

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