Home COMMUNITY In a first, Bandra slum gets bio-toilets

In a first, Bandra slum gets bio-toilets

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Eco-friendly processing of excreta prevents waste from seeping into earth.

One of the eight eco-friendly toilets installed at Bharat Nagar slums in Bandra.

Sameer Salvi and his family had been living miserably due to the lack of adequate sanitation facilities in Bharat Nagar slums adjoining the Bandra-Kurla Complex. Hundreds of people like the Salvis defecate in the open due to lack of toilets in their area. But this is set to change with the installation of the first bio-toilet facility in the city.

“Eight eco-friendly toilets have been installed in the Valmiki Nagar area of Bharat Nagar slums.
These toilets can be used by three hundred persons in a day,” said Naveed Pasha, programme head, Wockhardt Foundation, Mumbai, which has initiated the plan.

The eco-friendly toilets consist of a shelter and an adjunct water closet which is connected to a bio-digester. “The bio-digester with holding capacity of 8,000 litres has been placed underground instead of a septic tank for collection of excreta. It consists of force-reinforce plastic material and is filled up with anaerobic bacteria ‘inoculum’ to one-third level. The bacteria has been sourced from Antarctica and has a shelf-life of fifty years,” Pasha told dna.

The processing of excreta involves breaking down of solid waste by the bacteria into biogas and water. Eco-friendly processing of the excreta prevents the waste from seeping into earth and contaminating ground water. “Ground water contamination by excreta has led to outbreak of diseases in slums time and again. Eco-friendly toilets will help in leading healthier lives,” said Pasha.

The eco-friendly toilet model has been invented by Government of India’s Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO). “We have sought a transfer of technology certification from DRDO to construct sanitation facilities across India. In Mumbai, we are in talks with corporates to fund building five more set-ups of this kind,” informed Pasha.

Bharat Nagar has a population of over 25,000 and 50 toilet shelters. Politicians have stated that this initiative is unique as they are not allowed to construct new toilets using the corporator’s funds. “Close to Rs20 lakh is allotted every year to repair old toilets, but we are not allowed to construct new ones. This eco-friendly initiative is on a pilot basis and we have zeroed in on two more locations in Bharat Nagar where we intend to expand the plan,” said Ilyas Bashir, an independent corporator.

Poor sanitation 

60% of Indian population defecates in the open

2.4 mIndian children die of diarrhoea, caused by open defecation anually

Rs12 bl The Centre spends on rectifying ailments resulting from improper sanitation, including viral gastroenteritis, typhoid, cholera, jaundice, diarrhoea, viral hepatitis, malaria and chicken gunya.

How does a bio-toilet model work? 
Excretory material enters the bio-digester tank from the toilet. The bacterial inoculum contained in the tank completely decomposes the excretory material to water and biogas.

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