South Central Railway plans to buy more bio-toilets

Secunderabad:  The South Central Railway (SCR) plans to procure 200 more eco-friendly bio-toilets to provide the facility on more trains in the next few months.

The decision was taken after successful trial of 48 bio-toilets fitted to the 17 coaches being run on Hyderabad-Mumbai Hussain Sagar Express and Kacheguda-Bangalore Express.

Bio-toilets were developed jointly by Railway Research and Standard Organisation (RDSO) and DRDO’s Gwalior based R&D Lab “Defence Research Development Establishment (DRDE)” for use in Indian Railways and are currently under trial in many of the zonal railways.

SCR, which has its headquarters here, took a lead in the trial and provided the facility in two trains.

The conventional toilets in the trains, by allowing human waste to fall on the tracks, cause unhygienic conditions and corrosion to track and coach fittings endangering the safety. Passengers use toilets while trains are at platforms and the track get scattered with human excreta creating unpleasant situation for passengers on the platforms, said a statement from SCR on Friday.

With the advent of bio-toilets, the railways have found an answer to the vexatious problem.

The bio-toilet, which has six compartments, uses inoculums (bacteria) to decompose the waste. The waste from commode enters in to the bio-tank, (where the inoculums are stored), gets decomposed by the bacteria and next enters a chlorine. The output will be just water and gas.

The railways have appealed to passengers not to dump plastic bottles, carry bags, cups, napkins and other material in bio-toilets as they get chocked and go out of order.

Earlier the DRDO and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) had entered into a MoU for DRDO-FICCI Accelerated Technology Assessment and Commercialisation (ATAC) programme, which aims at commercialising the cutting edge technologies developed by DRDO for civilian applications. The toilets cost only Rs 15,000 each and is cheaper if built for clusters.

The Bio-digester, named as ELOO (eco-friendly loo) is the Indian solution to the global problem. It is the perfect alternative to the current ‘Flush and Forget’ toilets. It is expected that bio-toilets can save billions of dollars for any government in waste management and to ensure good health for all.

The Bio-digester technology has been developed by Gwalior based Defence Research and Development Establishment (DRDE) and Tezpur based Defence Research Laboratory (DRL. The technology was used to decompose biological waste generated by soldiers deployed in high-altitude regions such as Siachen and Ladakh. The ELOOs can effectively function in extreme conditions and temperature ranging from – 6 degree C to 50 degree C.

The innovation degrades and converts the human waste into usable water and gasses in an eco-friendly manner. The generated gas can be utilized for energy/cooking and water for irrigation purposes. The process involves the bacteria, which feed upon the fecal matter inside the tank, through anaerobic process which finally degrades the matter and releases methane gas that can be used for cooking, along with the treated water.