Challenges of Sanitation Workers during the Pandemic in India

WaterAid India (Jal Seva Charitable Foundation)

During the current COVID-19 pandemic, sanitation workers are dealing with waste collection and
management, cleaning of toilets, cleaning/disinfection of public places, and maintaining sanitation services. Their work requires them to move across different locations, interact with several people and work in highrisk settings including health care facilities, quarantine centres and containment zones. The lack of personal protective equipment and other safety measures at work puts sanitation workers at a high risk of infection. Getting infected with COVID-19 can lead to an added layer of stigma and discrimination which can lead to loss of livelihood and difficulties in availing proper health care services. Moreover, since many of them live in informal settlements, there is also a concern about transmission in their communities. In this context, Urban Management Centre (UMC) and WaterAid India (WAI) conducted a rapid study on the challenges of sanitation workers during COVID-19 pandemic.


The study aims: • To understand challenges related to health, safety, working conditions and livelihoods faced by various categories of sanitation workers in the COVID-19 context. • To understand measures undertaken by government and employers, and implementation of various guidelines, advisories and schemes. • To highlight gaps if any, and suggest measures for supporting sanitation workers.
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  • Pan-India


  • Research report


  • Water and Sanitation