Railways bacteria plants to dole out more bio-toilets

Human waste to be converted into water, other gases by microbes
Last Updated 28 October 2012, 19:22 IST

The railways will set up three bacteria generation plants as part of its effort to equip more coaches with bio-toilets for eco-friendly waste disposal.

The Indian Railways have set a target of installing bio-toilets designed by the DRDO in 2,500 coaches in the current fiscal. Bacteria plants will be set up in Kapurthala, Chennai and Nagpur as there is a huge requirement for anaerobic bacteria for an increasing number of coaches with bio-toilets, said a senior railway ministry official involved with the bio-toilet project.

“Currently, we are procuring bacteria from DRDO, but we have to generate on our own to meet the requirement for all coaches,” he said. Bio-toilets are being fitted in all new LHB coaches manufactured in Rail Coach Factory at Kapurthala. Conventional coaches will also be equipped with these toilets in a phased manner, he said.

In bio-toilets, anaerobic bacteria converts human waste into water and gases (methane and carbon dioxide). Currently bio-toilets have been provided on a trial basis in Gwalior-Varanasi Bundelkhand Express, Jammu Tawai-Indore Malwa Express, Chennai-Guwahati Egmore Express, Nizamuddin-Indore Intercity Express, Indore-Gwalior Express, Mumbai-Varanasi Mahanagri Express, Lucknow-Mumbai Pushpak Express and Kochuveli-Bangalore Express.
The first train to be fitted with bio-toilets was Gwalior-Varanasi Bundelkhand Express in January last year. The latest train to be equipped with these new toilets is Kochuveli- Bangalore Express. Field trials on these trains are successful, the official said.

The problem of environment degradation and corrosion of tracks has been a cause of concern for the railways. Corrosion costs the railways more than Rs 350 crore every year. It has now set up a core committee that is working out details to fit bio-toilets in 50,000 coaches.

(Published 28 October 2012, 19:22 IST)

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