Indian Railways have developed bio-toilets for its passenger coaches, thus making this environment-friendly, low cost and robust technology, the first-of-its-kind in Railway Systems in the world.
The technology has been developed jointly by Indian Railways (IR) and Defense Research & Development Organization (DRDO) for railway passenger coaches. An MoU has been signed between IR & DRDO for development of bio-toilets.
This environment-friendly, low cost and robust technology is the first-of-its-kind in Railway Systems in the world. The efficacy of the bacteria used in this system has been tested by DRDO in extreme climates and conditions like those at Siachen Glacier. The anaerobic bacteria used in the bio-digester are hardy enough to survive extreme cold & heat and also survive when subjected to commonly available disinfectants. As a stationary application, this technology is being used by the Indian Army deputed at high altitudes in the Himalayan region.
In these bio-toilets, the waste retention tanks are fitted below the coach floor underneath lavatories and the human waste that is discharged/collected in them, is acted upon by a colony of anaerobic bacteria that converts human waste mainly into water and bio-gases. The gases escape into the atmosphere and waste water is discharged after disinfection onto the track. Raw human waste, thus, does not fall on the railway tracks and this keeps station premises/ tracks clean.
Indian Railways is committed to eliminate direct discharge toilet system from its entire coaching fleet in the coming few years.
Discouraging the habits of using toilet pans as garbage bins, Indian Railways is using a ‘P-trap’ and a ‘Ball Valve with Operating Mechanism’ system for segregation of bio-degradable/non-biodegradale things thrown in the toilet pan and evacuation of non-biodegradable. P-trap allows only human waste or some very small foreign objects to enter in the bio-digester tank and the bottles/plastic cups, etc., and remaining objects in the toilet pan are evacuated by actuating the ball valve through operating mechanism provided with the system. When the toilet becomes non-usable due to such objects in the pan, the ball valve is opened and objects in the pan are evacuated. The ball valve is again closed making the toilet ready for use again. Here, passengers’ cooperation is of paramount importance for the success of these bio-toilets.
For this, awareness programmes on ‘How to use Bio toilets – Dos & Don’ts’ are regularly being conducted by Zonal Railways by providing stickers in coach toilets, playing audio/video clippings, etc. All zones have been advised to take-up a vigorous ‘Public Awareness Drive’.
IR invokes its esteemed passengers to co-operate for success of bio-toilets in coaches.