Social activist and founder of ‘Sulabh International’ Bindeshwar Pathak, who campaigned extensively to alleviate the plight of manual scavengers, died at a Delhi hospital on Tuesday. He was 80.
Sulabh has constructed nearly 1.3 million household toilets and 54 million government toilets using cheap, two-pit technology.
Apart from construction of toilets, the organisation has led a movement to discourage manual cleaning of human waste.
Lawmakers have passed several laws aiming to stamp out the age-old practice of manual scavenging, the latest in 2013. But many scavengers are still used through subcontractors.
The men are called “manual scavengers” because they mainly scrape the waste with their bare hands without any protective gear or masks, a practice Bindeshwar Pathak termed “demeaning”.