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'Reinvent the Toilet' India will showcase advancements that improve sanitation and health
The Reinvent the Toilet Fair: India event, which is being co-hosted this week by the Government of India's Department of Biotechnology and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and which is supported by the Ministry of Urban Development, aims to stimulate discussion and spur partnerships to improve global sanitation and bring affordable sanitation solutions to people that need it most.
The fair is also an opportunity to recognise India's commitment to improving child health and fostering innovative solutions to persistent development challenges.
The latest addition to the 50-strong group of exhibitors is DCI Engineering (www.coghlincompanies.com), which is showcasing its Faecal Sludge Omni Ingestor. The FSOI System, which is conceived as a solution for a business owner to use to extract contents of latrines while helping to reduce sanitary risks, is designed to fit on the back of a motor vehicle with an open-top, rear cargo area (a pickup truck or lorry) with a pumping mechanism that can reach distances of 50 metres.
DCI is currently in Phase III of the project, developing working prototypes in preparation for field trials.
Since 2000, reports from the Joint Monitoring Program (WHO/UNICEF) of the Millennium Development Goal targets for sanitation have consistently shown that the share of the population in developing countries that use pit latrines, septic tanks, and systems qualified as "unimproved" sanitation facilities is growing. Today, it is estimated that between 2.1 - 2.6 billion people in developing countries use pit latrines or septic tanks that produce tons of untreated faecal sludge every day. When these tanks and pits are full, the sludge collected is largely discharged untreated into open drains, irrigation fields, open lands, or surface waters. The amount of untreated faecal sludge discharged into the open environment poses a serious public health risk.
"Of the 1.1 billion people who defecate in the open, almost 60% are Indian," says Professor K. VijayRaghavan, secretary of the Indian Department of Biotechnology. "Sanitation solutions using the latest technology need not be complex or driven by expensive gadgetry, but they need to be innovative and address the many aspects of this multifaceted problem."
The World Bank estimates that poor sanitation costs the world $260 billion annually. Poor sanitation contributes to 1.5 million child deaths from diarrhea each year. Chronic diarrhea can also hinder child development by impeding the absorption of essential nutrients that are critical to the development of the mind, body, and immune system. It can also impede the absorption of life-saving vaccines.
"Today, because of a lack of toilets and poorly functioning infrastructure, massive amounts of untreated waste winds up in the environment, spreading disease," warns Brian Arbogast, director of the Water, Sanitation & Hygiene team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "We are privileged to host the Reinvent the Toilet Fair: India with our partners to advance conversations about sanitation - it is a testament to the Indian government's commitment to improving how we deal with this pressing problem."
Image (courtesy of manorama) shows Eram Scientific's (www.eramscientific.com) e-toilets, which will also be on display at the Fair.
"The infrastructure build-out in India is about modernising highways, railways, telecom, ports, and power. But there is a very important and often overlooked element in the effort to create a better quality of life for citizens and tourists alike: The creation of an urban sanitation infrastructure.
"Eram Scientific, a Social Enterprise, has taken on the challenge of addressing public sanitation by developing a product that is portable, hygienically maintained, and eco-friendly. eToilet is India's First Electronic Public Toilet."
The eToilet incorporates full cycle approach in sustainable sanitation by integrating convergence of electronics, mechanical, web-mobile technologies thereby controlling entry, usage, cleaning, exit, and remote monitoring capabilities with multiple revenue options.
The insertion of a coin opens the door of the eToilet for the user, switches on a light-thus saving energy-and even directs the person with audio commands. The toilets are programmed to flush 1.5 litres of water after three minutes of usage or 4.5 litres if usage is longer. It can also be programmed to clean the platform with a complete wash down after the toilet has been used, say, five or 10 times.
To date, 400+ eToilet units and over 200 Sewage Treatments Plants have been set up across India and another 80 eToilets are in the pipeline in Kerala. eToilet has won over 25 awards nationally and internationally.
20th March 2014