BioToilet -For Open Defecation Free India

On the eve of India’s 70th independence day, we all are grateful to our ancestors for the freedom we enjoy today. During the struggle for freedom, it was patriotism that burnt in the hearts of every Indian. Today as we are raising slogans of patriotic sentiments and agitating against various issues, I found we lost those flames that made 15th August 1947 happen. Its not a date or an event it is a message, that the country we live in is our “Motherland” and she belongs to us and us alone. Does this feeling resonates among all of us today? Are we still so loving towards our Motherland? I don’t think the answer to all is a “Yes“. India is leading its march to make its mark all across the globe. But that is not the big picture, India with a a rural population of 68.84 % and sections of people still don’t have the access to basic amenities like food, clothing, shelter and basic hygiene.

My agenda today is to highlight one of the major concerns related to hygeine which is open defecation. I guess by now there is no person unaware of the term “OD” or Open defecation. Swachh Bharat Abhiyan has put a huge light on the perils of OD and the other adversities associated with it. As mentioned earlier a large population of India lives in rural areas, out of which 52.1 % population still openly defecates as per as survey conducted by National Sample Survey Office (NSSO). It was our honorary Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream to make India free of Open Defecation by 2nd of October 2019, marking the 150th birthday of Mahatma Gandhi. In more than three years of its launch the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan has been successful in spreading awareness and implementing measures to reduce the problems related to Sanitation in India. One of the major initiatives include installation of Bio toilets in railways and other public places.

A Bio toilet system involves use of a biodigester system which converts human waste into recyclable materials. A Biodigester is a mechanized reactor where all the human waste is accumulated and their decomposition is facilitated with the help of highly potent Bacteria. These Bacteria have a robust nature and can withstand the routine cleaning agents used in toilets. They convert human excretory waste into manure, methane and water. The liquids and solids formed during the treatment of waste in the biodigester, are separated by a solid liquid separator. The separated liquid is then recycled after proper treatment, while the solid waste is utilized as manure. The biogas generated in these system can be used as domestic fuel in railway kitchens and pantries. The first Bio Toilet system installed in Gwalior-Varanasi- Bundelkhand Express is still running successfully since January 2011. As these Bio toilet systems can function by single microbial dosing for a year, they have proved to be an efficient zero discharge system of human waste.

The importance of installing Bio Toilet systems in railways is gaining a wide popularity all over the country. But the maintenance of these biotoilets has become a concern to the railways due to ignorance of the commuters. Many Bio toilets have been dysfunctional due to choking caused by dumping of plastic waste like bottles and food wrappers into the toilets. Such callous behavior by our people is delaying the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan from reaching its goals. In a large country like India you cannot expect things to change in a day, unless all its citizens make a conscience effort. The government and a number of NGOs are implementing a number of programmes to improve the scenario of sanitation in India. Its now on us to jointly support their commendable efforts and make the dream of an open defecation free India a reality.

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