MANGALORE: In its efforts towards promoting green solutions and providing eco-friendly transport solutions, Konkan Railway has taken a major step towards bio-degradation of night soil (human mull) by installing bio-toilets on its route.
Konkan Railway is the first railway in the country to have Bio-Toilets on railway station platforms. The technology while allowing eco-friendly and faster way of human waste disposal, is also economic. As a beginning, the Bio-Toilets have been installed by Konkan Railway at Chiplun and Kankawali stations on its route.
According to Vaishali Patange, Chief Public Relations Officer of KR, the Bio-Toilet is based on Bio-Digester technology developed by DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organization). The technology is 100% maintenance-free and allows complete elimination of pathogens without requiring the night soil to be disposed through sewage line and septic tank. Since it does not require septic tanks and sewage lines, the Bio-Toilets can be installed much faster than a regular RCC toilet. While the latter requires a minimum of two months for construction, the Bio-Toilet can be installed in just a couple of days. The saving in cost factor is also 70% less compared to a regular RCC toilet. While a conventional toilet would cost about Rs 1 lakh, the Bio-Toilet can be erected in only about Rs 30,000.
The Bio-Digester is charged initially with anaerobic bacterial inoculums and no further charging is required if the Bio-Toilet is in regular use. The bio-degradation of the night soil leads to generation of bio-gas which can be utilized for cooking purpose. The odour-less water extracted after bio-degradation can be used for irrigation of gardens etc.
The Bio-Toilets are being widely utilized by the defence forces in its remote areas and an MOU has been signed by Indian Railways in 2010 with DRDO to develop a Bio-Toilet system for use in railway coaches for improving environment around railway infrastructure. Konkan Railway is planning to cover other stations also with the technology.