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Observe the following aspects of your home: • Does it get proper sunlight? • Is it well ventilated? • Is it kept clean, both in and around? • Is it exposed to loud noise’? Your surroundings play an important role in maintenance of good health. Your immediate surrounding is your ‘home’. If your home environment is not suitable, you will not be healthy. Let us see how you can maintain a suitable environment in and around your home.
Lighting can be of two types: (a) natural light (b) artificial light EFFECT OF POOR LIGHTING ON HEALTH When you check the lighting in your home, you must make sure that most of the rooms get some sunlight during the day. Can you say why? You are right, sunlight acts as a mild disinfectant, i.e., it kills germs and keeps the place healthy. It also heats up the rooms and thus removes dampness from the home. Sunlight is important for all the rooms but more specially for kitchen and bathrooms where water is mostly used. If sunlight does not enter into these areas they will remain dark and damp. It will encourage the entry of mosquitoes and cockroaches. It is not very hygienic to stay in such a house. When artificial light has to be used, make sure that it is not too strong and that it falls on the work that you are doing and not on your eyes. Light falling directly on your eyes and will make them ache and water. You should be very careful that for studying there should be proper lighting. Otherwise, your eyes will soon be tired.
You know that fresh air is essential for healthy living. This is the reason why we must ensure that the house that we live in has proper ventilation. Circulation of air is necessary because the carbondioxide that we breathe out is removed and the fresh air brings in oxygen for us to breathe in. For this, the windows of the house should be kept open. Even in winters, when it is very cold, at least one window must be kept open so that fresh air can circulate freely. In all those rooms, with no provision of windows, ventilators can help circulation of air.
Are you affected by the loud horns of passing vehicles on the road near your house? Can you study properly when you brother plays the radio very loudly? Can you sleep when your mother is grinding the masala at home? The answer to all these questions is ‘no’. This is because there is some noise disturbing you. But what is ‘noise’? Why does loud noise disturbs you? Loud noise interferes with your ability to think and work. Exposure to loud noise, as in factories may result in loss of hearing and cause deafness.
Can you say why it is important to keep our homes and surroundings clean? Because clean surroundings keep insects and diseases away from us. In order to prevent the spread of diseases and to keep our environment healthy, we must observe some do’s and don’ts. Let us discuss some of them:
1. Clean the house
The house must be cleaned everyday. We must sweep and mop the house and remove dust and dirt from every nook and corner. The furniture must be wiped and cowebs removed. While mopping, it is better if you use some disinfectant like Phenyl.
2. Remove the garbage
The garbage from the house, dust collected through sweeping, waste material like vegetable peelings from the kitchen, etc., should be put in a covered dust bin. This dust bin should be emptied into a packet everyday and this packet of waste should be disposed off in the public garbage bin, in the street. The packet prevents the garbage from spilling everywhere and acts as an effective and sanitary method of waste disposal.
3. Disposal of waste water
There is generally a fair amount of waste water from the house. Waste water from the bathroom, washing place and kitchen should be led by a drainage pipe to a kitchen garden, or preferably, a soakage pit. Soakage pit Soakage pits provide a hygienic method of disposal of waste. They are cheap and easy to construct. A suitable soakage pit is about 2 metres deep, 1 metre wide and long enough to deal with the household waste water. The average length is 2-3 metres. Fill one-third of the pit with coarse stones, preferably overburnt bricks of ¾ size. The middle portion is filled with small stones and pebbles, and the uppermost portion with sand. The soakage pit may be covered with earth and grass. The waste water from the house is led through a drainage pipe to the soakage pit. The waste gradually percolates and soaks away into the ground from the pit. Soakage pits should not be constructed near a well. Otherwise, the water in the well may get contaminated.
4. Disposal of human excreta-sanitary latrines
Hygienic disposal of human faeces and urine is necessary to prevent the spreading of diseases. It is very important that all people should use proper latrines. Otherwise, diseases would spread through: (i) flies sitting on food (ii) drinking polluted water (iii) eating contaminated raw vegetables (iv) walking barefoot Let us look at some of the ways of safe disposal of human excreta.
A. Water closet
In the majority of large towns, human excreta is removed through the water carriage system. In this, along with the household waste water, the faeces and urine are carried away by a flush of water However, this system does not work unless there is plenty of water available for the purpose. Also, it is expensive to construct. As a result, in most of the villages and many of the towns in India, we find that the closets and sewerage system are not there. In such circumstances, the pit latrines or the bore hole latrines may be constructed.
B. Pit latrine
A pit is dug to receive human excreta. The pit should be more than 3 metres deep. This is to prevent flies from sitting on it as flies rarely live in holes as deep as this. The soil should be sandy and allow the liquid portion of the excreta to drain away, otherwise the pit will fill up quickly. Water should be added daily to help the feces to flow down and get decomposed. There can be a concrete platform around the opening of the hole and raised foot stands. The opening of the hole should be covered with a lid. This will discourage flies attracted by smell and also prevent bad smell from spreading.
C. Bore hole latrine
A hole, a little less than half a metre in diameter, is dug deep into the ground, generally to a depth of 6-7 metres. The opening of the hole is covered with a concrete slab. A squatting plate is fitted. When the hole gets filled with excreta, upto a metre from the top, the hole should be filled up with dry earth. The squatting plate which has been removed should be fitted over a freshly dug bore hole.
D. Sulabh Shauchalaya
As you all know, sewerage is the ideal solution for the disposal of human and other wastes, but it costs too much. Septic tank is another alternative but that, too, is costly. The latest development in the safe disposal of human excreta is the pourflush latrine with twin pits popularly known as Sulabh Shauchalaya. 1t has been deve1obed by Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak.
through a system of drains and sewers. You must have seen the following type of water closets in houses.
Principle of Sulabh Shauchalaya
The Sulabh Shauchalaya consists of a pan with a steep slope, needing only 1.5 to 2 lts of water for flushing. The excreta is carried into leach pits through pipes or covered drains. There are two circular pits constructed about 1m apart. Only one pit is used at a time. When one pit fills up, it is closed and the other pit is used. During a rest period of 2-3 years, the first pit can be cleaned out and is ready for use when the second pit fills up. Thus the two pits can be used alternatively and continuously. Advantages of Sulabh Shauchalaya: 1. Very hygienic. 2. Low cost and easy to construct with locally available material. 3. Does not pollute surface or ground water. 4. Free from foul smell. 5. Maintenance is easy and low cost. 6. Needs only 1.5 to 2 lts of water for flushing as compared to 13 to 14 lts of water sin a conventional flush toilet. 7. Does not need scavengers for cleaning the pits. 8. The sludge from the pits is a good manure. 9. Vent pipe is not needed as gases are dispersed into the soil. 10. Eliminates mosquito, insect and fly breeding.
1. Tick mark (ü) the most appropriate answer: (a) We must keep the drains and nallies clean, otherwise (i) There will be stink (ii) Water will not flow easily (iii) Flies and mosquitoes will breed (iv) Municipality will fine us (b) Soakage pits provide a hygienic method of disposal of (i) Garbage (ii) Waste water (iii) Human excreta (iv) Faeces and urine (c) In case of the pit latrine, the pit should be (i) Less than 3 mts. deep (ii) More than 3 mts. deep (iii) Exactly 3 mts. deep (iv) None of the above 2. Match the items in column A with set of column ‘B’: A B i) Sunlight a) Artificial light ii) Bulb and Tubes b) Natural lightACTIVITY Visit 5 houses in your neighbouhood. Find out how they dispose off the household garbage. If they are not following the proper methods, suggest to them suitable ways for the same. Record your information in the following format.
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