Anand Aiyar | October 03, 2018 12:27 hrs

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and is a major public health issue in most developing countries.  This is a global concept recognized by the UN in its Millennium Development Goals.

Swach Bharat Abhiyan aims at providing environment-friendly and affordable access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene to people who need healthier living and working conditions. As a big step in this direction, a new range of Aerobic Bio-toilets has come as a health & sanitation solution. The main feature of Aerobic Bio-toilets is that it provides affordable water supply and purification systems. It can also be attached with hand washing stations and sanitary napkin vending machines and incinerators. But, of course, the very purpose of installation of such Aerobic Bio Toilets may prove futile unless we provide behavioural training, capacity building and demand generation programs to sustain and ensure wider growth and acceptance. Further, the possibilities of integrating Bio-digester technology with the existing septic tanks and leach pit toilet system are to be explored.

Public toilets are important in cities like Guwahati where the migrant population movement is on the increase everyday. With the advent of new concepts in health and sanitation, it has become easy to install them. Excavation, foundation and building of septic tanks can be done away with when we choose a Bio Toilet or E-Toilet with the Bio Digesters functioning with a Bio Media (Bacteria) is an alternative for a septic tank.

The idea of E-toilet was conceived with an aim to address the issues associated with traditional public toilets – namely, non-availability of water, electric power, manpower, lack of maintenance and sustainability. The serious dearth of personnel was another important pain-point, often hindering sustained service to the users.

With an idea of a full-cycle approach in sustainable sanitation, by integrating electronics, mechanical, web-mobile technologies, thereby controlling entry, usage, cleaning, exit, and remote monitoring capabilities E-Toilets have been launched.

With the insertion of a coin the door of the e-toilet opens for the user, switches on a light and even directs the person with audio commands. The toilets are programmed to flush water, clean the platform after usage and enable a complete wash-down periodically. All actions happen automatically.

E-Toilets are too sophisticated and one snag in the system will make situations miserable. They need to be monitored very closely, especially in Indian conditions, and if not, there will be maintenance issues in locations with hot and humid climatic conditions.

“E-Toilets” and “Bio-toilets” are two popular terms in vogue today. Many of us are rather confused about the difference between the two. While Bio-toilets are simple installations with facilities to convert the defecated material to water in a short period of time by converting it to odourless and colourless water, E-Toilet are the ones fitted with electronic and gimmicking automation features which facilitates the user with so-called easy-usage.

Bio-Toilets help the community to have clean surroundings as the foul smell emitted by the defecated materials are negated by the Bio media. The water derived out of the defecated materials can also be used as manure for the plants in the surroundings. In fact, it contributes to negate CO2 emission by helping plants around to grow.

In recent times, in Guwahati, many E-Toilets are being installed in spite of the shortcomings attached to it. E-Toilets are very costly involving very high outflow of funds. An Aerobic Bio Toilet is cheaper as there are no sophisticated automation attachments to it. The cost of an E-Toilet is nearly double the price of an Aerobic Bio Toilet with simple features to suit the needs of small cities like Guwahati.

The water treatment in the E-Toilets being installed in Guwahati, of late, with DRDO Anaerobic Bio Digester system emits the Methane Gas which has been banned under the climate control laws. These digesters are very slow and are not compatible for public toilets.
Moreover, E-Toilets being installed in Guwahati along with a Water ATM require a large quantity of water for cleaning, flushing and maintenance. 

The need of today in cities like Guwahati is Bio Toilets at much cheaper cost, flexible with elegant looks with state-of-the-art Multi Strain Aerobic Bio digester system which can convert at least 50 defecation of Human Waste into neutral water within 24 hours.  

“Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan” will be completing four years on 2nd October 2018 and end on the 2nd October 2019 when the nation will be celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of the Mahatma Gandhi.

Gandhiji’s concept of Satyagrah centres around “Insistence on Truth”. Today’s popular concept is Swach-agraha which means “Insistence on cleanliness”. Through “Satyagraha” Mahatma Gandhi started a movement to “rid India of the British”. Likewise, “Swachagraha” is a pledge to “rid India of dirt and pollution”. This pledge will be an apt dedication to our father of the nation who believed that “Cleanliness is next to Godliness”. Let us plan to take a Sankalpa (pledge) to step forward for a  Swachh Bharat on Gandhi Jayanti this year.

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