This practice of agricultural reuse of wastewater after necessary
treatment has many advantages such as
Approximately 70% of the wastewater generated in India is released without any treatment,
leading to various adverse environmental and health consequences. Although India has achieved unprecedented progress in many sectors,
the progress in sanitation sector has remained poor and insufficient. Over 50% of the population still resorts to open defecation.
The statistics indicate that India is still home to 25% of the world’s hungry population and is ranked 66th in the Global Hunger Index. It is one of only three countries in Asia where the level of hunger is deemed “alarming”. An estimated 43% of children under the age of 5 years are malnourished (WFP, 2012). The malnutrition statistics for India stands at 65 million.
The developmental repercussions of inadequate nutrition coverage are similar to those due to lack of sanitation such as (1) stunting/malformation among children (2) impaired cognitive development (3) lack of resistance to diseases, and all the other as listed earlier. The Government of India (GoI) has for decades tried to resolve the country's stubborn malnutrition problems by distributing vast amounts of subsidized food. But more and better food has largely failed to reverse early stunting. One of the important reasons for this is the weakening of the absorptive capacity of stomach due to gastrointestinal diseases and germs which is linked to santiation. Some highly credible researchers have identified poor sanitation as a bigger cause for malnutrition than lack of food. Worldwide, 162 million kids below five years of age are malnourished due to dismal sanitation conditions. While both sanitation and food are equally relevant to issues of under-nourishment and malnutrition, they are often conceived and practised as two unrelated causes.
In the light of the above context, we are establishing a "lighthouse" project, called Nexus, for linking sanitation, food, water, energy and health. More specifically, the project aims to address hunger and under-nourishment through a two-pronged strategy. On one hand, the project will work on improving the sanitation situation, so that a favourable environment for food production and digestion is created, while on the other hand, increasing the supply of food by using nutrient-rich wastewater for food production.