bioloos — Sustainable Solution to the Sanitation Challenge

Sanjay Banka
Jun 13, 2016 · 3 min read

Sanitation facilities in India are alarmingly poor with nearly 600 million people (half of India’s population) having no access to toilets. People are forced to defecate in the open. This poses health hazards, raises environmental concerns and leads to water contamination. This is coupled with the Indian Railways’s open-chute toilet system wherein the human waste drops on the rail tracks. Untreated fecal matter lying in the open is a grave threat to the well-being and good health of the society and the environment and a threat to sustainable living.

Banka BioLoo’s solutions address the following needs/pain points of the end-user in a climate-friendly way:

• Meet the need for basic, easy-to-install and hygienic human waste disposal mechanism in areas with no infrastructural facilities currently.

• Address the need for a cheaper and easy-to-operate alternative to the traditional waste disposal system.

Bio-toilets treat the human waste at source — no need to carry, no spoiling of environment or groundwater, and don’t need any energy, no heavy infrastructure required. On the contrary, the system leaves pathogen-free water as effluent that can be re-used. For large bio-tanks, methane can be collected and used. These can be installed anywhere, without specification of land type, terrain, distance, etc.

The bio-toilet system disposes human waste

• in 100% eco-friendly manner

• saves energy

• conserves water

• produces bio-gas

The entire concept of bio-toilet (or bioloo) is socially and environmentally driven. In India, many marginalized sections and the not so better off communities (rural and urban) don’t have access to sanitation facilities. The bioloos are an affordable and durable solution to the challenge of lack of toilets, as also help in waste treatment at site.

The project has positive impact on society, health and environment. The notable variables are number of people who no more defecate in the open, their health has improved and are not prone to diseases, the quantity of human waste treated and the amount of water recycled.

The project solutions have:

· Enabled access to hygienic sanitation to families, schools, members of public, on-site workers, and notably to rail passengers

· Treated human waste and saved/ recycled water; as effluent water from the bio-toilet system is re-used, need for fresh water from municipal sources is reduced

· Railways’s bio-toilets: better hygienic conditions for millions (and increasing) of people living near tracks

· Families and communities, with access to bioloos, don’t defecate in the open, their health has improved as human waste is not littered

· Womenfolk use bioloos and have no fear of security, and have a sense of dignity

Our bioloo model is scalable and replicable across geographical areas or terrains, suited for all income groups and social backgrounds, apt for urban, peri-urban and rural areas, beaches, or hilly areas — almost anywhere. The bacteria can withstand temperatures from -5°C to 50°C.

Beginning with a state or two in 2012, today we have installations in 20 Indian states, and growing. We are in the process of developing local partnerships with for-profit enterprises or non-profit organizations with a similar commitment and vision.

We are working on ways to take the bacterial culture to other countries, such as in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO), R&D arm of Indian defence, are our technical partners. They had developed the climate-resilient and environmentally-friendly bio-technology for the defence personnel. We are pioneering the application for the civilian population. We, as well as DRDO –work on furthering the application of waste treatment, adaptability across geographies.

On the other side, we have partnered with many a NGOs and non-profit organizations. We work with them to identify user families among the vulnerable sections. Some notable partners are Engineers Without Borders, Gramalaya, Small Scale Sustainable Infrastructure Development Fund. These organizations raise funds or get grants and we work together in identifying disadvantaged families (having no toilets) whom we could provide bio-toilets. We also work with associations to create and raise awareness, for example, with Confederation of Women Entrepreneurs we organized a “Walkathon on Sanitation” in Hyderabad. We also work with companies in providing school sanitation within CSR programs.

Enterprise and Project Mission

Solutions for sustainable sanitation and healthy life for one and all, more so for the have-nots and the marginalized (BoP) strata of society

Reach out to places where toilets are rare and facilities are bare; the need is substantial, the problem is acute, and the solution is within reach

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