Swachh Bharat Mission Urban 2.0

Swachhata aur Swasthya: Wash Facility for Sanitation Workers


Leh, is known as the "winter desert" due to its harsh cold weather. It often experiences temperatures as low as -25 to -30 degrees Celsius in winters, leading to frozen lakes. Despite these challenging conditions, sanitation workers work diligently towards keeping the town clean, often sacrificing their own health, safety, and dignity. The sanitation workers in the city are responsible for various solid waste management tasks, including waste collection, segregation, and street cleaning. Many of these workers reside in informal settlements with inadequate access to water and sanitation facilities, resulting in unhygienic living conditions. In addition to this, as the city experiences a growing number of tourists, it inevitably leads to a rise in waste production, subsequently increasing the workload for sanitation staff.

In response to these concerns, LEDeG (Ladakh Ecological Development Group), collaborated with the Leh Municipal Committee and BORDA (Bremen Overseas Research and Development Association) to create a unique ‘Wash facility’ for sanitation workers in Leh. This groundbreaking facility underscores the city's commitment to the well-being of its sanitation workers. Situated in the stunning landscapes of Ladakh at Skampari, this state-of-the-art facility goes beyond mere infrastructure; it symbolizes collective belief in the importance of health, hygiene, and dignity for those who tirelessly maintain the environment's cleanliness. The facility has been carefully designed to cater to the specific needs of sanitation workers, acknowledging their vital role in preserving the pristine beauty of the region. Earlier, the Leh Municipal Committee partnered with BORDA to support sanitation workers through training, workshops, and the provision of safety kits, tools, and PPE kits for their well-being.

The ‘Wash facility’ for sanitation workers has improved toilet and bathing facility for both men and women, provision for black and grey water treatment and reuse of treated water along with various additional features. The facility boasts separate bathing areas for both men and women, ensuring privacy and comfort. These spaces are equipped with modern amenities to offer a rejuvenating bathing experience after a day's toil. This facility houses a well-equipped laundry area, complete with advanced washing machines, to ensure that the workers' uniforms are impeccably clean and sanitized.


Acknowledging the importance of relaxation, this place includes a dedicated lounge area where sanitation workers can unwind during their free time. This space is designed to provide a tranquil environment for rest and rejuvenation. It provides a secure space for sanitation workers to safeguard their personal belongings in lockers. The construction of the facility has taken into account the harsh winters of Ladakh. The structure is designed to withstand extreme weather conditions, ensuring that the facility remains accessible and functional throughout the year, regardless of the climate. Most of the sanitation workers in Leh don’t have the facility to have hot water ready at their homes. But this place provides hot water to sanitation workers 24x7 in all seasons especially in winters.

“मैं पिछले 5-6 साल से लेह MCD में काम कर रहा हूँ। यहाँ पहले ऐसी कोई भी फैसिलिटी नहीं थी। पहले हमें सर्दी के मौसम में गरम पानी नहीं मिल पाता था और अपने कपड़े किसी नाले के पास जाकर धोने पड़ते थे । लेकिन इस वॉश फैसिलिटी के बनने के बाद सर्दियों में भी आसानी से हमें गरम पानी मिल जाता है, हम ऑटोमैटिक वॉशिंग मशीन में कपड़ें धो सकते हैं और साथ ही यहाँ आदमी और औरतों के लिए साफ़ सुथरे टॉयलेट भी है।“ (Adil, a sanitation worker in Leh)


The Sanitation team manages and upkeeps this Wash facility center through a rotational schedule. Their responsibilities encompass tasks such as maintaining cleanliness within the premises, attending to electrical appliances, and ensuring hygiene standards are met. Additionally, sanitation workers residing in various rented accommodations across the area can also avail themselves of the facility's amenities, including bathrooms, toilets, and washing machines.

This collaborative effort underscores the values of community engagement and compassion. By offering this wash facility, the city aims to enhance the quality of life for our sanitation workers, recognizing the dignity of their labor and its vital role in maintaining the health and hygiene of our society. The success of this facility in Leh has inspired several other States in India to consider adopting a similar model, aiming to alleviate the lives of sanitation workers.

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