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Home > Cleaning > Padma Shri for M Subburaman, South India’s ‘Toilet Man’

Padma Shri for M Subburaman, South India’s ‘Toilet Man’

In recognition of his 2-year effort to build 1.2 lakh+ toilets

Since 1996, Subbaraman’s NGO has constructed over 1.2 lakh toilets in more than seven districts of Tamil Nadu and over eight states including Gujarat and Rajasthan.

EcoSan (Ecological Sanitation) toilets were introduced in water-abundant Musiri, Trichy, in 2006 by Subburaman, as conventional toilets involving septic tanks may pollute groundwater. EcoSan toilets are waterless toilets that have two chambers. Each chamber will have three different pans, one to urinate, one to defecate and the other to wash body parts. Instead of flushing with water, after defecating in EcoSan toilet, ash or sawdust has to be sprayed over the faecal waste to eliminate the water content. The opening through which faecal matter falls to the pit below the pans will be closed. Then the faecal waste will be allowed to dry and decompose to become manure.

Once the pit beneath the pan is filled, the other chamber will be used. The filled pit will be removed after months to be used as manure. A unique feature of EcoSan is that the toilet can serve both water surplus and water-deficient localities.

Through his efforts, sanitation parks displaying various types of toilets have come up in Trichy and Chennai suburbs. During the recent Covid-19 lockdown, Subburaman along with local metal fabricators designed pedal-operated hand-wash basins and placed them in government offices.

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