STOCKHOLM, Sweden; March 26, 2009.- The Stockholm International Water Institute noted in particular Bindeshwar Pathak's campaign against manual "scavenging" of human waste — a practice where people, often children, clear out excrement from open pits using buckets. Many die from disease contracted in this work.
Battling conditions such as those seen in the rags-to-riches film Slumdog Millionaire, shot in the teeming slums of Mumbai, Pathak won the award for his work to change unsanitary practices in India.
The Institute said Pathak's work, which has improved the health of millions of people, had served as a model for NGO agencies and public health initiatives around the world.
"Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak is a shining example of how hard work and plain speaking about sanitation can measurably improve people's dignity, privacy, status and, most importantly, health," said David Trouba, communications officer at the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council in Switzerland.