A recent post on dailypioneer.com by M Venkaiah Naidu talks of a more holistic approach being needed to achieve total sanitation in India. There no doubting the progress that’s been achieved since the Swachch Bharat Mission was launched in 2014.
“This is reflected in the physical progress achieved under the mission until now, which includes the construction of 29,18,669 individual household toilets and 1,10,665 community and public toilets across all cities and towns.”
But a critical next step, as Naidu points out, is the handling of waste – more specifically, solid waste. This is where the holistic approach referenced in the article comes into play. As ODF slowly but surely becomes a social practice of the past, India needs to come up with safe, and effective handling and processing of all of the fecal sludge services hadn’t been collecting until recently.
“With 475 cities certified Open Defecation Free (ODF), it is equally critical to put our efforts towards the safe collection, treatment and disposal of all human waste that is collected from onsite sanitation systems such as septic tanks, in order to achieve safe, sustainable sanitation for all.”
While it’s always heartening to see progress in India, that very same progress is also shedding light on how complicated it is to bring proper, safe, and total sanitation to every human on the planet. Luckily, many cities and municipalities in India are beginning to show up to face this task.
“To address this issue, the Urban Development, Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation Ministry is committed to helping States and cities make rapid improvements in managing their faecal sludge, and has launched the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation, which focuses on the provision of sewerage facilities and septage management in 500 cities across the country.”
The whole piece worth a read. It gives some interesting insight to FSM and the challenges ahead. Read the entire article by clicking right here.
RTI and Duke University hosted guests from the India Institute of Technology (IIT) for a day of networking, to expand research partnerships aimed at addressing complex global issues. Four students from Duke and four from IIT, along with faculty advisors from both universities, joined RTI researchers for a day of activities that included assisting with the testing of a new combustion unit that RTI’s partners at Colorado State University have been developing for the burning and energy capture of dried human waste.
The larger automated toilet system that RTI is developing through funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to simultaneously disinfect and recycle liquid waste while drying and combusting solid waste, was introduced to the students followed by the operation of the combustor – first using wood pellets as fuel, followed by dried feces mixed with wood pellets then finally pure feces.
The students – coming from various engineering disciplines including Civil, Environmental and Chemical – collected data surrounding the air quality of the combustor’s exhaust, which is part of a larger discussion regarding the harvesting of energy from trash and human waste.
The gathering was a complete success for everyone involved! Here are some reactions from participants:
“I am thrilled to be working with RTI and 2 top universities in India on this collaborative project. The students are thoughtful and ambitious, and I can’t wait to see what they come up with.” – Heidi Vreeland (PhD student, Duke University)
“I am a student of Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar. Just recently, Duke University and RTI International sowed seeds of research and academic collaboration with IIT Gandhinagar. I attended one lecture by Mr. Brian Stoner on his visit to India and I was amazed to see their research goals and success. They have chosen a growing Tier-II city in India which, I think is very necessary as cities like these are home to rising middle class of India and face serious toilet challenges. I was selected to be a part of the team for the Trash combustor project and was invited for a 3 day joint workshop at Duke University in the second week of July. It was an amazing experience to interact and share my ideas with so many bright minds. We were given some basic hands-on training to operate equipments that we will need when we will conduct field research in Ahmedabad in December. I am excited to meet them again in India and work with them in the near future. I hope our relations continue to grow stronger and better.” – Anmol Kishore Raina, Junior Undergraduate, Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar