We had a nice half day visit with Marc and Siddharth from Duke University at the RTI-Duke site at CEPT in Ahmedabad on February 25th.
Marc and Siddharth did some initial measurements on key-point sources of odor in our prototype. As we’ve written in the past, odor is a key contributor to the adoption rate of our sanitation system: now, and in the future. Study after study has shown that people are drastically less likely use a toilet if it smells unclean. So the resulting data from this visit will be quite important for us moving forward.
We also enlisted the full Ahmedabad team in the inaugural run of the odor measurement procedure that is drafted in the IWA standards document. We hoped to glean new insight by performing a trial run of this process and we weren’t let let down. We learned a quite a bit.
A very interesting post was recently published on the personal blog of Bill Gates. It is about odor, and it focuses on the the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s partnership with Firmenich and how they are attempting to combat odor, or eliminate it completely.
“Millions of new toilets are being built around the world to help end open defecation, including in India where a massive new toilet construction program is currently underway. This is great news. Unfortunately, many of these new toilets, especially the pit latrines, don’t get used because they smell bad and people continue to relieve themselves in the open where the air is fresher. This is a worrying trend that threatens to undermine the progress that’s been achieved in global sanitation.” – Bill Gates
As you may imagine, one of the many challenges we have faced in creating a sanitation system (and promoting its adoption), is a human’s natural aversion to the smells that can often occur with bathrooms used by the public.
A video from the post (also embedded below) includes a few scenes from Ahmedabad slums, and Christian Starkenmann applying Firmenich bleach powder in an Ahmedabad community toilet.
Our project has worked closely with Firmenich over the last 2 years. RTI and our partnership with SEWA facilitated this latest visit to slum areas for part of the filming of this video in September.