"Before the FSTP was established, the untreated waste was disposed directly into the water, now my job ensures that sewage water is recycled"
From Mannargudi, 35-year old Bharati, holds a bachelor's degree in commerce. However, he could only pursue his job in banking for a short while before he had to quit. During a period of unemployment, he worked as a daily laborer for the construction of a Faecal Sludge Treatment Plant. His technical understanding of the plant and its processes impressed others upon completion, leading to him being sought after to become the FSTP Operator.
Bharathi recounts how prior to the setting up of the FSTP, the untreated waste used to be openly disposed into the river. However, with the implementation of Tamil Nadu State Level FSSM Plan, the plant was established. The polluted water caused immense damage to water bodies and surrounding ecosystem. It was a moment of pride for Bharathi, when people who lived nearby visited the plant and understood how it was a better alternative than direct disposal of waste into water bodies. They were quite impressed by the FSTP’s functioning! Bharathi ensures safety protocols and monitoring guidelines such as registering vehicles, checking them for pH levels, removing plastics from screen chamber are followed diligently, wearing masks, handling equipment with care, etc.
Knowing its crucial role in safeguarding the environment and protecting communities, Bharathi feels immensely fulfilled by his job. The FSTP recycles sewage water, which earlier used to impact the farmlands in the area. The Mannarguri FSTP also runs on solar power.Even his family visited him at the plant and felt proud of his occupation. Bharathi prefers this work over his previous experience as a daily wage earner due to the sense of financial stability it has given him. As the sole breadwinner of his family, his chief aim is to take care of his family by ensuring better housing and a decent education for his children.