Fueling sanitation with excreta!

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Sanitation hasn’t probably got as much a face-lift earlier as it has seeming got with Sulabh International Social Service Organization. Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak, the founder, won Stockholm Water Prize 2009 for his innovation in sanitation. He has designed a “flush compost toilet” and a treatment system around it that treats the human excreta to extract odourless, high quality manure for agriculture.

With the core technology mastered, his organization has implemented over 6000 public toilets and built a “Sulabh Effluent Treatment system” that uses the input from all of them to produce biogas that goes right into the kitchen to cook food. What goes around comes around afterall :0)

Potential benefits are multi-fold. Added to the clean source of fuel and agricultural manure are health benefits since the system provides means to avoid excretion in public places and manual handling of human waste. This also implies that now the manual scavengers have a chance to be liberated from a curse they have inherited. And Sulabh itself provides a fillip to this hope. Sulabh Public school educates the offspring of those from the disadvantaged community, while Nai Disha offers vocational training to women who otherwise had to work as scavengers.

Sulabh’s achievement in a much needed, yet largely neglected area, especially through simple, innovative technology very commendable. Finally, check out the Sulabh’s unique Toilet Museum!

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Badhri Jagannathan