Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh is mulling over a plan to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Defence for installation of bio-toilets in gram panchayats across the country. Around 1,000 select villages will now be provided free Bio-toilets, which find its use by the army in high-altitude areas like Siachen to tackle the problem of open defecation and its health hazards. The project will be implemented in coordination with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
The bio-toilets are based upon bio-digester technology. He suggested that the bio-toilets could be named ‘Bapu’, as the Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi had always stressed on sanitation in rural areas of the country. The Union Minister also underlined the need for involving gram panchayats, women’s self-help groups, and non-government organisations in helping people to set up these toilets in their homes, and maintain them.
Developed DRDO’s Gwalior laboratory, these bio-toilets use bacteria that digest the waste and turn it into biogas and odourless compost. Besides, they do not require sewers and treatment plants to be built, use less water and need little maintenance.
There is no need to replenish the bio-toilets since the anaerobic bacteria (which do not require oxygen to survive) brought from Antarctica, procreate and grow unless exposed to any acid or chemical.