Indian sanitation innovator wins 2009 Stockholm Water Prize
Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak, founder of Sulabh Sanitation Movement in India, has been awarded the 2009 Stockholm Water Prize, according to a March 25 press release.
Dr. Pathak is known around the world for his wide-ranging work in the sanitation field to improve public health, advance social progress, and improve human rights in India and other countries.
His accomplishments range from sanitation technology to social enterprise and healthcare education for millions of people in India. They serve as a model for non-governmental agencies and public health initiatives around the world.
Since he established the Sulabh Sanitation Movement in 1970, Dr. Pathak has worked to change social attitudes toward traditional unsanitary toilet practices in slums, rural villages, and dense urban districts. He developed cost-effective toilet systems that have improved daily life and health for millions of people.
He has also waged an ongoing campaign to abolish the traditional practice of manual “scavenging” of human waste from bucket latrines in India and served as an advocate for the rights of former scavengers and their families to economic opportunity, decent standards of living and social dignity.
“The results of Dr. Pathak’s endeavors constitute one of the most amazing examples of how one person can impact the well being of millions,” noted the Stockholm Water Prize nominating committee in its citation.
“Dr. Pathak's leadership in attaining these remarkable socio-environmental results has been universally recognized, and not least by those who have secured the freedom of human dignity as a consequence of his efforts.”
First presented in 1991, the Stockholm Water Prize is the world’s most prestigious prize for outstanding achievement in water-related activities. The annual prize includes a $150,000 award and a crystal sculpture.