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Toilets are free but cleaning is not

Spreading awareness on sanitation among people, especially in urban areas, where toilet hygiene and sanitation are never on the list of priorities, is something Pune-based Shramik Sanitation Systems or 3Ss has been doing for over a decade. Shramik has been campaigning for its portable toilets as an economic, hygienic and safe answer to the problem of sanitation. “We are the first people to bring the concept of portable toilet services to India,” says Rajeev Kher. “We began in 1991 with just two toilets but from day one we had a comprehensive cleaning system in place. Earlier, we used a suction machine attached to a tank. Now, we have developed to suit modern requirement.”

The vacuum suction technology uses high-pressure suction and jetting system. The vehicle-mounted vacuum suction pump collects the waste in a tank on its top which is then disposed off as per the waste disposal norm either into a sewage treatment plant or a waste treatment plant allocated by the local municipal corporation. It can also be disposed off at a common sewage treatment plant. “We have developed this technology in-house besides procuring expertise from abroad and from local vendors in India,” says Rajeev.

Today, with more than 100 portable toilet units, Shramik is the only company in India which is manufacturing as well as providing maintenance service. These toilets are made of high density polyethylene or the HDP which is of a superior quality plastic, generally used for pipes and not used for applications like toilets. “We manufacture the toilets in Pune in conjunction with our partners. Since ours is a service company, we install the portable toilets for a particular time-period as per the client’s requirements and service them ourselves. Hence, we don’t really sell them. Of course, there are people who are willing to buy them to probably start a similar activity or for their backyard. It is like a mobile sim-card, the toilet is basically given to the client free of charge. We charge for the service that we provide.”

It is very easy to clean HDP made toilets as they do not break or crack unlike the FRPs and are also fire-retardant.

“We provide everything in the portable toilets like deodourizer, soap dispensers and toilet paper. As far as possible, the products are CFC-free and eco-friendly. The sanitary concentrate used for cleaning has been developed in-house from plant-extracts and enzymes or what we call non-formalhyde bio-degradable solution.” The tissue papers again are from recycled paper and supplied by a private vendor. “The toilet itself is recyclable! When the toilet become old, we shred it and recycle as it is made of 100% recyclable material. We have an agreement with Germany-based Global Fliegenschmidt GmbH for supply of certain composites.”

Speaking on the daily cleaning schedule, Rajeev says, “Since the toilet is made as per international specifications, the ANSI-DIN standards, cleaning is equally important. But it differs from client to client and on the usage. Most of the clients get the toilet washed/cleaned on a daily basis. There are some who want cleaning to be done on alternative days and some on a weekly basis. If one toilet is designed for 50 people, then it has to be cleaned after 50 people have used it. Now, if everyday 50 people are going to use it, it has to be cleaned everyday. So, you have to send a truck to that location to remove the toilet, clean it, put sanitary concentrate, stock toilet-paper, fill water and move it back to the location.

“Our main aim is to provide better quality sanitation to people in India – to un-served settlements like construction sites, large public gatherings or any place where there is a large mobile crowd. So it could be any location like a railway station or places where people gather together for an event or activity.”

Shramik toilets will also be installed at the Commonwealth Games. “It will be one of our biggest projects.”

The 3Ss has provided services to clients like L&T, Rahejas, Mercedes-Benz and HCPL. They have also provided toilets for the beaches of Pondicherry, Karikkal and Yanam, besides providing them to Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Bangalore. “Our philosophy is to give good quality sanitation with good products

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