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Bio-toilets: Transforming Indian Sanitation

This article describes how a social enterprise is helping to eradicate the malaise of open defecation by providing eco-friendly bio-toilets (or bioloos).

Constructing a bio-toilet

Sanitation facilities in India are alarmingly poor with over 600 million people (half of India’s population) having no access to toilets and open defecation practiced instead. This poses health hazards, raises environmental concerns and leads to water contamination. This is coupled with the Indian Railways’s open-chute toilet system wherein the human waste drops on the rail tracks. Untreated human waste or the fecal matter lying in the open is a grave threat to the well-being and good health of the society and the environment.

Banka BioLoo Pvt Ltd, an Indian firm committed to environmental betterment and social uplift, is supporting to eradicate the malaise of open defecation. By providing eco-friendly bio-toilets (or bioloos), the enterprise is helping meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDG-7) and actively supporting the Indian government’s vision of an open defecation free society.

The bio-toilet system consists of an easy to erect super-structure, a multi-chambered matriced bio-tank that holds the bacterial culture and allows the treatment of the human waste. The system doesn’t need any external energy for treatment, rather emits pathogen-free effluent water that is good for gardening and similar purposes; and bio-gas that could be used for cooking or heating. The system meets all regulatory and environmentally compliances and enhances the socio-environmental fabric of India.

Bio-toilets are low-energy and save water compared to traditional toilet systems, thus providing both adaptation and mitigation benefits, while at the same time addressing urgent development needs. The system leaves pathogen-free water as effluent that can be re-used, which could be particularly useful in arid and semi-arid areas. For large bio-tanks, methane can also be collected and used.

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