New Delhi, Oct. 3 -- India's open defecation free (ODF) status is being lauded by experts, although they add that the challenge now is the disposal of the excreta collected in many pit-style toilets. Safe disposal can go a long way in preventing soil and groundwater contamination, they said.

India was declared ODF on October 2.

The national annual rural sanitation survey (NARSS) of 2018-19 conducted by the ministry of drinking water and sanitation shows that 34% of the toilets have septic tanks with soak pits, 30% have twin leach pit toilets, about 20% have single leach pits, 3.3% have septic tanks without soak pits, and 13% have closed pits.

While the NARSS considers disposal through septic tank with soak pit, single leach pit, double l...