Celebrating Life

Bio Toilets – First of its kind in humanitarian response

DSCN7473What would you consider a sign of relief? Slouching on the couch with a hot cup of coffee after a long day? A rush of a cold evening wind on a smoldering summer day? Different things come as a sign of relief to different people.

These are simple things yet the joy they bring is precious to those that looked forward to it.

As part of World Vision India’s Chennai flood relief programme, 6 bio toilets were inaugurated at Annai Sathya Nagar, Saidapet exclusively for women and children. The women in this community had been defecating in the open for many years.

Lack of toilets is a matter of dignity for a woman. Think about squatting in the open and being jeered at by men. You don’t go to the field when nature calls, you go when the field is empty and free from men who lurk around to taunt women.

These 6 bio toilets have come as a sign of relief especially for women living in this community where World Vision serves.

Why a bio toilet? Going green is the buzz word these days. There is always a question of hygiene and maintenance when a sanitation facility is set up. Toilets are meant to be clean for usability and to avoid spread of infection. These bio toilets serve the purpose fully well. They help keep the environment clean and at the same time require less water.

DSCN7468Every bio toilet has a bio-tank which decomposes the human excreta. The bio-tank holds the bacterial culture which supports the treatment of human waste. When human excreta comes in contact with bacteria, it gets converted into methane and water through a series of steps of anaerobic digestion. The capacity of each bio-tank is 300 litres. Each toilet can be used for about 30 times a day. The bacteria replicates itself so there is no worry of the organisms perishing in the course of time. However, these toilets require maintenance once every year. 1 bio toilet will cater to 60 households in the community. A 150 feet deep hand pump has also been installed near the bio toilets. A couple of women have also been identified to monitor the toilets to avoid misuse.

These families in the community were also among those affected by the recent floods. “All our utensils, television, electronic items were washed away. Along with our property, our Diwali dreams were also washed away”, says Maharathi.
The families moved to temporary relief shelters when the flood happened. On their return, their homes were completely devastated. “The slush was about a feet deep and it took 5 days to clean it all up”, says Marilamary.

World Vision India has provided relief to 15000 households in the city of Chennai, 695 in Cuddalore district and 2000 households in Nellore, Andhra Pradesh. 3 child friendly spaces were opened to help children cope with any disaster-related distress. 2 Medical camps were conducted in 2 relief camps benefitting 435 people including children.

– Evangelin S/World Vision India

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *