Total Sanitation Mission 2020
Architect Raj Rewal hopes the toilets will be set up across the country soon.
“It can go to any city, any small town, and hopefully to small villages if we work hard on the designand economics of the toilets,” says Rewal.
The Indian government is keen to fast-track the scheme. Open defecation has serious health implications and is a big economic burden on the country.
Only one state in India, Sikkim, is free of open defecation. Under its Total Sanitation Mission, the government aims to eliminate the problem of open defecation by 2022.
High altitude innovation
A similar system has been tested successfully at high altitude by army personnel at the Siachen Glacier in Kashmir.
And India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) plans to help roll out the bio-toilet program across the country.
“We developed a technology which includes a consortium of psychrophilic bacteria, which was brought from Antarctica, cultured in the laboratory, and which can degrade fecal matter into water, carbon dioxide and methane,” says Dr William Selvamurthy, a former scientist at the DRDO. “This is a very, very innovative technology.”
Selvamurthy says the bio-toilet has no geographical or climate limitations, and can be installed without the need for large sewerage networks.
If mass-produced, a single unit will cost between 400 to 700 euros
Some have undergone design modifications. For example, to avoid the toilets getting clogged at railway stations, where people might use them to dispose of non-biodegradable plastics, like bottles, a special lid has been constructed.
“The Indian railways have adopted this technology and the existing coaches are being retro-fitted. It will also go to other civilian sectors in a very horizontal spread to a very large cross-section of our society,” Selvamurthy says.
Bio Digester technology: The environmentally friendly way to treat waste.
The activities of the MRC will soon going to install bio digester (bio-toilet) in various regions of the country. It achieves this through the application of anaerobic digestion technology.
Anaerobic digestion technology is the process of treating wastewater without using oxygen. Many countries in Europe and Latin America utilize this technology, which treats wastewater in an environmentally friendly manner, facilitating its use for irrigation or its return to water bodies without polluting them. The process also generates organic fertilizer and bio gas (a form of fuel) by allowing naturally occurring bacteria to break down solid waste. The bio digester System operates on the principles of anaerobic technology, and is used to treat organic farm waste. Another variant, the bio digester Septic Tank (BST) is an on-site sanitation unit that utilizes anaerobic technology for the disposal of toilet (black) wastewater as well as of kitchen and bathroom (grey) water, in a closed system. The MRC currently applies this technology instead of septic tanks and absorption pits on several farms, housing complexes and single households to treat animal waste and domestic sewage.
Many communities, farms, organizations and institutions have benefited from Scientific and Technological solutions as the MRC works with them to develop environmentally friendly waste management systems. The MRC has assisted with the development and implementation of a bio digester System in railways. The system treats solid human wastage to generate bio gas and organic fertilizer. The organic fertilizer (treated solid waste) will be utilized by the various areas and/or sold to small farmers as soil conditioners.
There are many benefits to be derived from the use of anaerobic digestion technology. The Method is simple in construction and operation, and consequently inexpensive. Biogas Projects should aid in the reduction of fuel cost, as it is more cost effective to use biogas than Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) as fuel.
The Need for Bio Digester?
The discharge of untreated wastewater on economically important natural resources such as rivers and seas, and their ecosystems leads to their destruction.
The inadequate handling and disposal of sewage lead to health problems.
Household sewage generated is causing serious pollution of surface and ground waters.
The present on-site systems of sewage disposal do not provide much in the way of treatment.
The extremely high cost of high tech systems (activated sludge, oxidation ditches etc.)
The use of the generated biogas which can be used in place of LPG and firewood.
The need for alternative energy sources.
Odourless bio-toilets for Railways soon
Passengers travelling in long-distance trains will soon get respite from the stench of toilets with Railways set to replace them with odourless bio-toilets. With a view to providing more hygienic conditions, Railways is firming up a green initiative to manufacture 2,500 BioToilets in the upcoming fiscal. Railways are carrying out field trials for various types of green toilets, including controlled discharge toilet system, zero discharge toilet system and bio-toilet based on bio-digester technology to be installed in all passenger trains.
Unlike traditional toilets in trains where the waste is discharged on tracks, the new system will treat the same inside a tank with the help of bacteria, which will convert it into harmless bio gas and water. These newly designed bio digesters are likely to be manufactured in MRC workshop in KPT, Jalandhar. The toilets do not allow the refuse to fall on the tracks. Instead, it would be collected in a tank fixed below the coach floor.
The manufacture of these bio toilets is likely to be mentioned in Rail Budget 2012-13 as part of the green initiatives being undertaken by the nation\’s largest transporter to improve cleanliness in rail premises. This would not only improve the environment, but also help in preventing corrosion of rail tracks.
Estimated to cost about Rs 1 lakh per bio-toilet, these new-age toilets will be manufactured at Kapurthala coach factory and fitted in long- route trains. While approximately 50 bio digesters will be fitted in LHB (Linke Holfmann Bush) coaches, the rest will be used in conventional coaches.
Bio-toilets are already operational in some coaches as part of a pilot project. \”Some modifications are being made during the trial and now, the new technology will be extended to more trains, \” said the official.
Anaerobic bacteria inside the toilets consume waste material and convert it into water and bio gas in the anaerobic digestion system. The water passing through a chlorine tank is discharged as clean water and the gas generated evaporates into the atmosphere or to be stored for usage.
Railways had joined hands with Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for the development of bio-toilets.
Bio Digesters for Train Toilets
Eco-friendly bio-toilet system proposed for the Railways Spin-off from a technology that was essentially used by the defence forces could lead to in hygienic and environmentally friendly disposal of train toilet waste in India.
The Defence Research and Development Establishment (DRDE), a Gwalior-based unit of the Defence Research and Development Organization, has isolated and cultured a consortium of bacteria that was brought back from an Indian Antarctica expedition.
The bacteria, used in a bio digester, can convert human waste — releasing an effluent that is free from unpleasant odour or pathogens. When a bio toilet is flushed all that flows out will be chlorinated water, besides an acceptable level of bio gas methane. K. Sekhar, Director, DRDE, said the rectangular stainless steel bio digester, when is attached below the train carriage\’s toilet, will not be generally visible inside. The system needs no special maintenance. The bio digester design consists two chambers, one for biological and another for chemical treatment. The two treatments results in colourless and odourless effluent being discharged.
The digester has a PVC-based immobilisation matrix which lines the partition and side walls, which not only entraps the bacteria in case there is a sudden washout due to the accidental pouring of large quantities of water but also [withstands]… detergents and antiseptics. According to Mr. Sekhar, the matrix enhances the rate of biodegradation by retaining a higher bacterial mass. While the bacteria remain in the bio digester for as long as two years and could then be replenished, the converted human waste that remains in the digester could be removed when the coach goes for maintenance.
For the DRDE, the idea stemmed from the technology and expertise garnered while handling a problem that the defence forces faced with regard to hygienic disposal of human waste at high altitudes with low temperatures. We have used bio digesters fitted with solar heaters at high altitude for our defence personnel. Solar heaters are required since bacteria don\’t act at the low temperatures… The heaters ensure that the bio digesters are maintained at a temperature of around 10 degrees so that the bacteria can act.
Over the last four months the DRDE has fitted bio digesters in the coaches of the Barauni Mail.
Why India needs high-tech bio toilets to stop 620 million people defecating in the open
More than 50 percent of India’s population defecates in the open – due to widespread poor sanitation. The government wants to tackle the problem by building 100,000 bio-digester toilets.But in the Indian capital, a unique experiment to set up high-tech bio-digester toilets promises to change the lives of thousands of residents who use open fields for their morning ablutions.
The World Health Organization – and figures from India’s own census – suggest the number of people, who are forced to defecate in the open, is as high as 620 million.
That’s more than half the population.
Small wonder, then, that during its New Delhi trial the bio-toilet has received such ecstatic praise. Since it was installed outside a public hospital at the start of June, the bio-toilet has seen a steady stream of users.
Many residents, such as Ram Yadav, a daily wage labourer, are happy with the venture.
“We now have the privacy to use a toilet and do not have to wander into open spaces. There is also running water,” says Yadav.
More than basic sanitation
But it’s not just about meeting the country’s basic sanitation needs and health standards. It is also about public safety.
The bio-digester toilet is about more than health and sanitation – it’s about safety too
The lack of toilets in India has meant that women are often left in dangerous situations. Alone the act of having to relieve yourself at night can be dangerous – if you are a woman and have to walk out into open fields in the rural hinterlands.
“This is excellent and very helpful. There should be more of these toilets,” says Gita Devi, a New Delhi homemaker.
Renowned architect Raj Rewal, better known for designing iconic exhibition pavilions and structures such as the Parliament library, has partnered in this ambitious project.
“I felt that a large number of people, particularly those living in slums, go and defecate in the open. This is a very serious problem – mainly for the 2.5 million women in the city who have no facility to go to toilets in the morning,” Rewal says.
This prototype uses aluminium sandwiched honeycomb panels, with stainless steel veneering for durability. The eco-friendly toilet can be set up anywhere – even where there are no sewer lines.
Bio Digesters: New Era of Eco Friendly environment
Developing countries like INDIA look to bio digesters to help them with their waste and provide an eco-friendly surroundings.
Bio digester have been around for some time, but developing countries are now looking to a new source of energy than the traditional animal manure; human excrement. As nauseating as it may sound, bio digester, often known as anaerobic digesters, can convert human waste to biogas and organic liquid fertilizer. This alternative kind of energy is growing in popularity and may give one time hopeless countries, a chance for a sustainable future.
Bio digester can also produce raw material by-product streams that can be further refined in to higher value products such as fertilizer. In addition, they can help alleviate lots of environmental issues, such as water and air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and the general putrid smell of manure. They also help reduce energy costs and provide farmers with a new source of revenue.
Developing countries like INDIA don’t have the same resources as other countries, nor have they got fields of manure that they can convert in to biogas. What they do have is people…lots of them! And it turns out that researchers have found that humans provide the best raw material for bio digester. Yet, of the concerns of using human waste in bio digester is that there isn’t of it. However, if the bio digester is placed in a heavily populated area, they do comparatively well. Toilets are basically connected to a sealed, brick-lined well connected to a basin called BioToilet. Deprived of air, the bacteria flourishing in human excrement eat 85 percent of the waste while producing methane gas. The remaining 15 percent of waste is dispersed with the excess water in to another area, where it biodegrades. Not a single chemical is used in the process and the water collected, think it or not, is clear and sterile.
Bio Digester toilets need tiny maintenance and over time the waste in them basically turns to compost. The toilets drastically improve sanitation in impoverished slums and also help reduce countries dependence on coal, which ends up in deforestation. The anaerobic process takes up to months to get rolling, but one time it’s going, bio digester can yield up to hours of gas per day.
Regrettably the cost is usually greater than most developing countries can afford, but governmental organizations like DRDE Defence Research and Development Establishment has taken an initiative to provide rural areas and high altitude places like glaciers a better sanitation process by which can used human and animals wastage to convert it in to treated water used for irrigation of usage and production of bio gas. DRDE has installed bio digester Toilets in various remote areas where human wastage was a great issue for surroundings and civilians. India has been using bio digester toilets on their trains for years.