Environment friendly Eco-vapour toilet system to be tested in India

Environment friendly Eco-vapour toilet system to be tested in India

Keeping clean and disposing of human waste (feces and urine) are necessary for good health. If they are not taken care of in a safe way, our feces and urine can pollute the environment and cause serious health problems, such as diarrhea, worms, cholera, and bladder infections. Health is not always the main reason why people want to have clean toilets, better water supplies, or improved hygiene. Other needs may include:

Privacy: A toilet can be as simple as a deep hole in the ground. But the need for privacy makes it important for a toilet to have a good shelter. Making a door or enclosed entrance to a toilet, or building it away from where people usually walk, will make it nicer to use. The best shelters are simple and are built from local materials.

Safety: If a toilet is badly built it can be dangerous to use. And if it is far from the home, women may be in danger of sexual violence when they take care of their sanitation needs. For a toilet to be safe it must be well-built and in a safe place.

Comfort: People will more likely use a toilet with a comfortable place to sit or squat, and a shelter large enough to stand up and move around in. They will also be more likely to use a toilet that is close to the house and that gives protection from wind, rain, or snow.

Cleanliness: If a toilet is dirty and smelly, no one will want to use it — and it may spread disease. Sharing the task of cleaning or paying for cleaning with money or other benefits will help to ensure that toilets are kept clean.

Respect: A well-kept toilet brings status and respect to its owner. Often this is a very important reason for people to spend the money and effort to build one.

There are many innovative ideas coming up for a sustained toilet /sanitation system. One step forward in this direction has been initiated as per below classic example.

A team of researchers has started the first field test in India of a new breathable fabric that can be used to line pit toilets and other basic sanitary facilities in developing nations. The fabric, which researchers from University of Delaware, are developing is similar to that used in sports jackets and raincoats and it only allows tiny water vapour molecules through. Researcher Steven Dentel realized this could be a valuable way to filter out liquid water from human waste, letting the pure water escape while retaining everything else. Sewage placed in a container of this fabric would become dehydrated and therefore less hospitable to bacteria and other disease-causing organisms.

                                

Breathable fabric used in field test traps waste and allows only tiny water vapor molecules through. 
(Photo credit: Evan Krape, University of Delaware)

Researcher Shray Saxena said that a lot of people in India right now don't have improved toilet systems and even in cities like Kanpur, which are really quite developed, people do not have these facilities available to them. Because sanitation in these cities is often decentralized, an advantage of this disposal system is that it does not require connection to central water or sewage lines. Families in two cities, Kanpur and Puri, are trying out the new “eco-vapour“ toilet system, with sewage collected in 55-gallon drums lined with the breathable fabric, allowing water vapour to evaporate.

The group is observing how the fabric performs under varying conditions of heat and humidity, which affect the rate at which water diffuses through the membrane. If external humidity is high, the lined drums may fill up before enough of the water can evaporate. A new "eco-vapour" toilet system being tested in India uses a breathable fabric that traps human waste and allows only water vapour molecules to escape, rendering sewage less hospitable to bacteria and other disease-causing organisms.

"A lot of people in India right now don't have improved toilet systems. Even in cities like Kanpur (UP), which are really quite developed, people do not have these facilities available to them," Shrey said. Approximately 2.5 billion people around the world are still without adequate sanitation, which leads to water contamination responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths each year. About a billion people still have to defecate in the open, without any privacy or sanitary facilities. 

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