Railways bacteria plants to dole out more bio-toilets

Railways bacteria plants to dole out more bio-toilets

Human waste to be converted into water, other gases by microbes

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.