When Tech Meets Toilet This Is What Happens
Here is a short story. There lives a girl Reema in Indore, a tier II city of India. She is a VIIth standard student in the local government school. Today, she is hospitalized with a severe urinary tract infection. Doctors say that she doesn’t drink water for eight long hours at school. When enquired, she told that she doesn’t want to go to the school toilet due to its cringe-worthy state and she has been doing so for years.
This is not just a single story. There are more than 100mn Reemas in India who go out on work daily and prefer not to use public toilets. This girl still lived in a city. What about the others who dwell in the rural hinterland? No one wants to talk about sanitation because that’s a taboo but defecating in open isn’t.
India dreams to be a superpower. It aspires to rub shoulders with US, UK and Russia where access to basic infrastructure is a fundamental right. Today, India is sending expeditions to Mars while its people are still pooping outdoors. Shame. Isn’t it?
Bincy Baby, a civil engineer, always wondered about the poor public sanitation in India. A country 1.2 bn strong, has more than 490 mn citizens defecating in the open- which is a whopping 47 percent of the population.
Bincy Baby, Eram Scientific Solutions
“And then I thought about the importance of IT in solving everyday issues. I believed that if technology is used in a smarter way, it could impact the lives of hundreds of people,” said Bincy.
This is when she joined the Trivandrum based Eram Scientific Solutions to change the face of public sanitation in India. Out of all the existing 10 lakh toilets only a mere 10,000 are functional. The biggest challenge in public toilet system is its maintenance.
e-toilet unit, Surajkund
In October 2014, Eram Scientific launched e-Lite 14, a solar powered unmanned e-toilet for schools and is claimed to be the cheapest. It incorporates full cycle approach in sustainable sanitation by using electronics, mechanical and web technologies to control entry, usage, cleaning and exit. The self-cleaning and water conservation mechanism in the toilet makes it unique.
The user has to insert a coin to open the door and its sensor-based lighting system turns on. The user is also directed with audio commands. The toilets are programmed to flush 1.5 litres of waters after 3 minutes of usage and 4.5 litres if the usage is longer. The platform is also washed after every 5 or 10 people use the toilet. All the toilets are connected over a GPRS network. The web interface at the control centre keeps track of the performance of the e-toilets and collect data regarding usage, downtime, charges collected etc.
She e-toilets made specially for women
Not only does it comply with the Indian government initiative of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan but also with the Make In India concept as only indigenously developed products are used. It has developed “She e-toilets” exclusively for women to facilitate them during menstrual cycles like napkin incinerators and vending machines. They have installed over 1900 e-toilets and 500 sewage treatment plants across 19 states in India.
Eram Scientific is now developing e-toilets that are self-sustainable and can recover nutrient, energy and water in collaboration with the University of South Florida and Duke University. It has received financial support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
They have done a commendable work by addressing the most pressing issue of our country. This can truly change the face and phase of India. We can only be a superpower if we have the basic infrastructure added to the most advanced technologies, thanks to Eram Scientific Solutions.