Chandrapur village is in the Gulbarga district of Karnataka. Of 200 households, only two had toilets till 2012. Chandrapur was not exceptional. Five hundred and eighty houses in 6 villages had just 8 toilets. This means massive water and river pollution.
The Ganges experience shows how expensive and difficult this is to reverse. It also means diseases that spread from contaminated water-about a thousand children die everyday in India from illness caused by water contaminated by fecal matter.
Obviously, we need proper, affordable toilets with access for everyone. But if the toilet positively impacts the environment, it’s a bonus. The Green Sanitation Foundation, which adapted and implemented the technology, managed to put up 81 green toilets in Gulbarga. The toilets are a complex piece of en gineering. Waste is processed by bacteria in a bio-digester under the toilet. Another bacteria deodorizes it.
This ensures each toilet takes 7 times less space than a conventional one. More important, the toilet includes multiple chambers, including one for disinfecting the non-portable water, finally let out. The solid sludge will be removed whenever it is needed for farms.
To understand why this is green, recall that bigger cities in India discharge waste from toilets directly to rivers, via overloaded sewage lines. Sewage treatment plants are too few and don’t function adequately. That’s why we have many nearly-dead, hyper polluted rivers in India. New toilets everywhere should think of the Gulbarga model so we have infrastructure that safeguards the planet and people.