Better sanitation methods for better health

Better sanitation methods for better health


Using a public toilet is always an avoidable option, but imagine, if you enter a toilet that automatically cleans the toilet seat covers with the help of UV and steam treatment methods  while allowing you the luxury of not touching the commode or the seat cover!

Sounds interesting and even believable! A belief that is being translated into reality by Kerala’s Eram Scientific Solutions Private Limited  which recently displayed the concept of an ‘E-Toilet’ at the ‘Reinvent the Toilet Fair’.

Organised by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Department of Biotechnology, the fair showcases innovative products and approaches that aim to bring safe, affordable and sustainable sanitation to those who need it most. Therefore, models of those toilets were showcased that eliminate the need for water, sewer and electricity for its functioning. Instead they improve the collection, treatment and disposal of human waste.

Like Defence Research Laboratory (DRL), DRDO, Ministry of Defence  has developed a human fecal matter biodegradation  technology . This comprises a specially designed biotank and a natural secondary treatment bed (reed bed) for effluent water. A highly efficient microbial consortium digests human faeces into colourless, odourless gases and effluent water is safe to reuse for flushing , gardening etc.  It is maintenance-free in terms of sludge cleaning; generate biogas that can be harnessed.

On the other hand, Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur displayed the zero-discharge toilet system which they developed for the Indian Railways in 2005.  The system is based on the isolation of water from human excreta. It recognises the fact that excreta and urine are valuable resources for supporting agriculture.  The faeces sludge is converted into organic manure  and the liquid waste, after treatment with enzymes and polymers, is recycled for flushing the toilets, thus avoiding the use of fresh water for flushing.

Also on display were projects from international universities like Cranfield, United Kingdom, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands, Duke University USA, National University  of Singapore, North Carolina State University USA to name a few. Some NGOs too presented their innovations.

From a pool of 108 applications, six Indian innovators were selected to contribute to the development of sanitation solutions as part of the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge: India.

In 2011, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation launched the global Reinvent the Total Challenge (RTTC) to bring sustainable sanitation solution to the 2.5 billion people who wake up without the access to toilets, risking their health and safety.