PK Srivastava

Sanitation Changemaker

Low-Tech, High-Impact Solutions

Hailing from the city of Allahabad, known for its competitive pursuit of the civil services, PK too had his sights set on a career in the government. He diligently worked for and appeared for the Provincial State Services exam and opted to work in Municipal Administration Services. His public service journey has taken him all over Uttar Pradesh, from Lalitpur, Kanpur, Jhansi to Varanasi and Lucknow, encountering multiple challenges related to urban services. He currently serves as Additional Director, Training & Capacity Building and Additional Mission Director, AMRUT for the Government of Uttar Pradesh.

PK Srivastava recounts that while urban services are riddled with difficulty, he always finds joy in embracing these challenges head-on. He describes it as ‘a double-edged sword’, where success brings in immense recognition, but failure can often invite scrutiny and public accountability. PK finds himself driven by the compelling desire to seek innovative approaches to solve complex problems. Recognizing the financial constraints faced by Urban Local Bodies, PK became deeply passionate about finding low-tech, cost-effective solutions in sanitation; making him a vocal proponent of Faecal Sludge and Septage Management (FSSM).

He strongly promotes Faecal Sludge and Septage Management (FSSM) as the most practical solution for Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) to adopt. FSSM, which treats faecal slude generated from on-site sanitation systems such as septic tanks, requires minimal land acquisition, avoiding the cumbersome and time-consuming process; as opposed to setting up sewer networks. Furthermore, it eliminates the inconvenience of excavating roads, which often results in prolonged disruptions. Connecting households to sewage pipelines poses a significant challenge, as residents are often unwilling to bear the associated costs. Recognizing that people are accustomed to using septic tanks, he worked in collaboration with the Centre for Science and Environment to develop models and bye-laws for FSSM in UP. These guidelines mandate regular desludging of septic tanks every three years and incentivize households that adhered to this practice by reducing the charges or rates for their next desludging. The goal was to regulate desludging and promote responsible sanitation practices.

Inspired by his visit to Odisha, where he witnessed the exemplary efforts of SHGs led by Transgender communities, he believed that communities could play a pivotal role in ensuring the success of FSSM initiatives. Their involvement would lead to a sense of ownership while fostering sustainable livelihoods. PK Srivastava emphasized the potential of training and engaging communities in the operation and maintenance of Faecal Sludge Treatment Plants (FSTPs).

In his forward-thinking perspective, he recognized that even with low-tech solutions, there were remarkable possibilities for wastewater reuse. Through the process of anaerobic oxidation, the liquid part of wastewater could be treated and repurposed for gardening and other similar activities. Meanwhile, the solid part could be transformed into valuable resources such as nutrient-rich manure and biogas.

He envisions a future where FSTPs would play a central role. These plants emerged as the most promising, low-tech, and cost-effective solution for managing faecal sludge. Importantly, the responsibility for the establishment, operation, and maintenance of these plants would lie with the Urban Local Bodies, ensuring their full ownership and commitment. To ensure the success and sustainability of FSTPs, PK Srivastava emphasized the active engagement of communities. By involving the community in decision-making processes and fostering their participation, the FSTPs would truly become a collective endeavor, serving the needs of the people and the environment.